Monday, August 19, 2019

Review - Marry in Scandal

Title:   Marry in Scandal
Author:  Anne Gracie
Series:  Marriage of Convenience #2
Genre:   Historical Romance
Publisher:  Berkley
Format:  Kindle
No. of Pages:   320
Date of Publication:  April 3, 2018
My Rating:  4.5 Stars

DESCRIPTION:

A shy heiress and a well-known rake face a scandal-forced marriage that might be true love in the latest irresistible romance from the national bestselling author of Marry in Haste.

Shy young heiress, Lady Lily Rutherford, is in no hurry to marry. She dreams of true love and a real courtship. But when disaster strikes, she finds herself facing a scandal-forced marriage to her rescuer, Edward Galbraith, a well known rake.

Despite his reputation Lily is drawn to the handsome Galbraith. In the gamble of her life, she agrees to marry him, hoping to turn a convenient marriage into a love match.

As heir to a title, Galbraith knows he must wed, so a convenient marriage suits him perfectly. But there is a darkness in his past, and secrets he refuses to share with his tender-hearted young bride. All Lily's efforts to get close to him fall on stony ground, and in desperation she retreats to his childhood home—the place he's avoided for nearly a decade.


Must Lily reconcile herself to a marriage without love? Or will Galbraith realize that this warm-hearted, loving girl is the key to healing the wounds of his past—and his heart? 


MY THOUGHTS:

If you read the first book in this series, Marry in Haste, you will be familiar with Lady Lily Rutherford. If not, this book will still be sure to captivate your attention as Lily's story is quite engaging. Lily isn't looking for marriage, but she certainly hopes for true love. Instead, she is not pleased to find herself facing marriage to Edward Galbraith, due to a scandal. It really is disturbing to her that he is a rake with quite a reputation.

At the tender age of 18, Lily is more than a bit naive. Lily must face one fact ... she is more than drawn to him. So agreeing to marry Edward might not end up being the worst thing that could happen to her. Now, if she could just get him to have feelings for her. However, Edward has had a difficult past, and does his very best to keep his heart under lock and key.

As far as how Lily and Edward got together. Well, he was her savior. After rescuing Lily, all he wanted to do was to keep her safe until he could return her to her family. Meanwhile, there was a man who put Lily in danger, and that is something that Edward will never forget. Although he is more than honorable, and despite the fact that he worked hard to maintain Lily's reputation, the pair do end up together.

One thing about Lily is that she has never been able to learn to read, and this is a huge part of who she is, and therefore, this becomes part of this story. Meanwhile, since this is part of a series, we see Lily's family occasionally. What's more is there is a special character who I was rather fond of, and that it Edward's grandfather. So, just as in the first book in series, family connections were part of this story.

I love how Lily's learning disorder was handled, and also enjoyed how Edward was able to face his past. This was a terrific read and a delightful part of an enjoyable series. The next book, Marry in Secret, was another very good read.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Me, very early in my story-telling career

I’ve always loved stories. Family legend has it that I used to spend hours playing in the sand pit, with a dog on either side of me and Rocka the horse leaning over me, his head just touching my shoulder, while I told them stories. I have to say, dogs and horses are great audiences, apart from their tendency to drool occasionally. But people are even nicer.

In case you imagine we were a filthy rich horse-owning family, let me assure you we weren’t. The horse period was a time when my parents entered a “let’s-be-self-sufficient” phase, so we had a horse, but no electricity and all our water came from the rain tank.

As well as the horse and dogs, we had 2 cows (Buttercup and Daisy and one of them always had a calf), a sheep (Woolly,) goats (Billy and Nanny) dozens of ducks, chooks, and a couple of geese, a pet bluetongue lizard and a huge vegie patch. I don’t know how my mother managed, really, because both she and Dad taught full time, but she came home and cooked on a wood stove and did all the laundry by hand, boiling the clothes and sheets in a big copper kettle. Somehow, we were always warm, clean, well fed and happy. She’s pretty amazing, my mum.

Once I learned to read, I spent my days outside playing with the animals (I include my brother and 2 sisters here) and when inside I read. For most of my childhood we didn’t have TV, so books have always been a big part of my life. Luckily our house was always full of them. Travel was also a big part of my childhood. My parents had itchy feet. We spent a lot of time driving from one part of Australia to another, visiting relatives or friends or simply to see what was there. I’ve lived in Scotland, Malaysia and Greece. We travelled through Europe in a caravan and I’d swum most of the famous rivers in Europe by the time I was eight.

This is me and my classmates in Scotland. I am in the second front row, in the middle, to the right of the girl in the dark tunic.

Sounds like I was raised by gypsies, doesn’t it? I was even almost born in a tent –Mum, Dad and 3 children were camping and one day mum left the tent and went to hospital to have me. But in fact we are a family of chalkies (Australian slang for teachers)- and Dad was a school principal during most of my life. And I am an expert in being “the new girl” having been to 6 different schools in 12 years.The last 4 years, however, were in the same high school and I still have my 2 best friends from that time.

On the left is me in Greece with my good friend, Fay, in our village outfits. The film went a funny colour, but you get the idea. I’m the one in the pink apron. On the right, is me posing shamelessly on a glacier in New Zealand.
No matter where I lived, I read. I devoured whatever I could get my hands on — old Enid Blyton and Mary Grant Bruce books, old schoolboys annuals. I learned history by reading Rosemary Sutcliffe, Henry Treece and Georgette Heyer. I loved animal books — Elyne Mitchell’s Silver Brumby books and Mary Patchett and Finn the Wolf Hound. And then I read Jane Austen and Dickens and Mary Stewart and Richard Llewellyn and Virginia Woolf and EF Benson and Dick Francis and David Malouf and Patrick White and Doris Lessing and PD James and…the list is never ending.

I escaped from my parents, settled down and went to university.To my amazement I became a chalkie myself and found a lot of pleasure in working with teenagers and later, adults. I taught English and worked as a counsellor and helped put on plays and concerts and supervised camps and encouraged other people to write but never did much myself. It took a year of backpacking around the world to find that my early desire to write hadn’t left me, it had just got buried under a busy and demanding job.

I wrote my first novel on notebooks bought in Quebec, Spain, Greece and Indonesia. That story never made it out of the notebooks, but I’d been bitten by the writing bug.

And then I discovered Romance and … the rest is…. historicals…

Sunday, August 18, 2019

BLOG TOUR - Where I Found You


Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for Where I Found You by Emma Robinson.


DESCRIPTION:

Your daughter does not speak… But can she teach you how to live?

Ever since Ruby was tiny, she has been unique. Her smiles are magically rare, her building blocks are always colour-coded, and she communicates only in gestures. Sometimes, being Ruby’s mother is hard, but the way she sees the world makes it new for Sara every day.

When Sara’s husband walks out on them, Sara’s world falls apart, and her mother-in-law, Barbara, is the only person she can turn to for help. But Barbara thinks Ruby’s problems are all in Sara’s head; that she just doesn’t know how to raise a child right.

Sara can’t see how she’ll cope alone. Barbara won’t listen. Can a girl who doesn’t speak show them the way?

A powerful emotional page-turner about motherhood, friendship and family. Guaranteed to take your breath away. Perfect for fans of A Boy Made of Blocks, Jodi Picoult and Jojo Moyes.


BUY LINKS:
AMZ: https://geni.us/B07SQRSP1XSocial
Apple Books: https://buff.ly/2Kvr4ph
Kobo: https://buff.ly/33tz9lT
Googleplay: https://buff.ly/2yX4nUl


MY THOUGHTS:

Title:   Where I Found You
Author:  Emma Robinson
Genre:   Women's Fiction, Literary Fiction
Publisher:  Bookouture
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:  300
Date of Publication:  August 16, 2019
My Rating:  4.5 Stars

Sara is more than pleased to be a mother. However, she knows her three-year-old Ruby is unique. She met several milestones as expected, but has stopped speaking. Furthermore, Ruby's play is guided by order - she color codes her toys, lines them up perfectly, and will repeat playful tasks repeatedly.

Mike thinks Ruby is a typical child. What is more, so does Mike's mother, Barbara. Currently, Mike has returned to acting, his first love that he gave up after marriage and fatherhood. Partly due to this, Mike has convinced Sara that moving in with Barbara will be best for the family financially. Mike can work hard on the play he just got hired to, and the couple can save money for a home of their own.

So, not only is Sara worried about Ruby, she is now living in the home of a woman who never showed her much consideration or respect. As a matter of fact, she second-guesses Sara at every turn, whereas Mike can do no wrong.

Sara takes a huge step, actually more than one. Not only does she find a part-time job, she even enrolls Ruby into a pre-school. This opens the door for Sara to act on her suspensions that things are not quite right with Ruby. After all, Sara is concerned for Ruby's happiness and future, as any well-meaning mother would be. Not only is Sara living in Barbara's home, she wakes up to discover that Mike has left them and that she is now a single parent.

What a touching story! Where I Found You not only focuses on Sara working on obtaining a diagnosis for Ruby, and where she might be on the autism spectrum, she also works on her dream of being an artist, finding friends she can rely on, and even growing in her relationship with her mother-in-law. 

Emma Robinson has delivered an effective story and has handled it with grace. As I have a grandson and nephew who are autistic, I felt very comfortable with how Ms. Robinson wrote this story, including expressing how isolated Sara felt at times. I truly enjoy her writing and do look forward to reading much more in the future.

Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC to review in exchange for my honest opinion.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Emma Robinson is the author of three novels about motherhood and female friendship including The Undercover Mother.

Her fourth novel - Where I Found You - is available to preorder now and will be released on the 16th August 2019.

When she is not writing, Emma is an English teacher and lives in Essex with a patient husband and two children who are an endless source of material.


Review - Marry in Haste

Title:   Marry in Haste
Author:  Anne Gracie
Series:  Marriage of Convenience #1
Genre:   Historical Romance
Publisher:  Berkley
Format:  Kindle
No. of Pages:   320
Date of Publication:  May 2, 2017
My Rating:  5 Stars

DESCRIPTION:

From the award-winning author of The Summer Bride comes the first in a charming new historical romance series where marriages of convenience turn into true love matches.

Major Calbourne Rutherford returns to England on the trail of an assassin, only to find he’s become Lord Ashendon, with the responsibility for vast estates and dependent relatives. Cal can command the toughest of men, but his wild half-sisters are quite another matter. They might just be his undoing.

When he discovers that Miss Emmaline Westwood, the girls’ former teacher, guides them with ease, Cal offers her a marriage of convenience. But strong-minded and independent Emm is neither as compliant nor as proper as he expected, and Cal finds himself most inconveniently seduced by his convenient wife.

Emm knows they didn’t marry for love, yet beneath her husband’s austere facade, she catches glimpses of a man who takes her breath away. As pride, duty and passion clash, will these two stubborn hearts find more than they ever dreamed of?


MY THOUGHTS:

Major Calbourne Rutherford has returned home with the express purposes of seeing his two half-sister settled. Having become Lord Ashendon, while in the middle of trailing an assassin gives Cal very little time. When he realizes that the girls, Rose and Lily, are rather wild, he looks to their former teacher for assistance. Cal soon offers their former teacher, Miss Emmaline Westwood an unusual offer.

When Emm gets asked by Cal for her hand in marriage, she knows love will have nothing to do with it. When Rose and Lily were at her school, she was rather fond of them. It doesn't take Emm long to consider Cal's offer. But, she soon realizes that this will not simply be a marriage of convenience, at least on her part. Not only does Emm accept, but she begins to have powerful feelings for Cal. What's more is that she starts to see his shell begin to crack.

Marry in Haste is the first book in the Marriage of Convenience series. I truly enjoyed how this story developed. Not only do readers get to see Emm and Cal fall in love, and Cal is the typical historical romance hero in this type of tromp, hard on the outside, but there was a strong family atmosphere throughout.

As most romance stories entail, there will be at least one conflict, and this story had its fair share. Although part of a series, this could serve as a standalone, but having already read the next two, Marry in Scandal and Marry in Secret, I was able to see this family come together, with Emm, Rose and Lily all finding love. I look forward to their cousin, George's - as she prefers to be called - story. I found this to be a touching book, with a wonderful ending.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Me, very early in my story-telling career

I’ve always loved stories. Family legend has it that I used to spend hours playing in the sand pit, with a dog on either side of me and Rocka the horse leaning over me, his head just touching my shoulder, while I told them stories. I have to say, dogs and horses are great audiences, apart from their tendency to drool occasionally. But people are even nicer.

In case you imagine we were a filthy rich horse-owning family, let me assure you we weren’t. The horse period was a time when my parents entered a “let’s-be-self-sufficient” phase, so we had a horse, but no electricity and all our water came from the rain tank.

As well as the horse and dogs, we had 2 cows (Buttercup and Daisy and one of them always had a calf), a sheep (Woolly,) goats (Billy and Nanny) dozens of ducks, chooks, and a couple of geese, a pet bluetongue lizard and a huge vegie patch. I don’t know how my mother managed, really, because both she and Dad taught full time, but she came home and cooked on a wood stove and did all the laundry by hand, boiling the clothes and sheets in a big copper kettle. Somehow, we were always warm, clean, well fed and happy. She’s pretty amazing, my mum.

Once I learned to read, I spent my days outside playing with the animals (I include my brother and 2 sisters here) and when inside I read. For most of my childhood we didn’t have TV, so books have always been a big part of my life. Luckily our house was always full of them. Travel was also a big part of my childhood. My parents had itchy feet. We spent a lot of time driving from one part of Australia to another, visiting relatives or friends or simply to see what was there. I’ve lived in Scotland, Malaysia and Greece. We travelled through Europe in a caravan and I’d swum most of the famous rivers in Europe by the time I was eight.

This is me and my classmates in Scotland. I am in the second front row, in the middle, to the right of the girl in the dark tunic.

Sounds like I was raised by gypsies, doesn’t it? I was even almost born in a tent –Mum, Dad and 3 children were camping and one day mum left the tent and went to hospital to have me. But in fact we are a family of chalkies (Australian slang for teachers)- and Dad was a school principal during most of my life. And I am an expert in being “the new girl” having been to 6 different schools in 12 years.The last 4 years, however, were in the same high school and I still have my 2 best friends from that time.

On the left is me in Greece with my good friend, Fay, in our village outfits. The film went a funny colour, but you get the idea. I’m the one in the pink apron. On the right, is me posing shamelessly on a glacier in New Zealand.

No matter where I lived, I read. I devoured whatever I could get my hands on — old Enid Blyton and Mary Grant Bruce books, old schoolboys annuals. I learned history by reading Rosemary Sutcliffe, Henry Treece and Georgette Heyer. I loved animal books — Elyne Mitchell’s Silver Brumby books and Mary Patchett and Finn the Wolf Hound. And then I read Jane Austen and Dickens and Mary Stewart and Richard Llewellyn and Virginia Woolf and EF Benson and Dick Francis and David Malouf and Patrick White and Doris Lessing and PD James and…the list is never ending.

I escaped from my parents, settled down and went to university.To my amazement I became a chalkie myself and found a lot of pleasure in working with teenagers and later, adults. I taught English and worked as a counsellor and helped put on plays and concerts and supervised camps and encouraged other people to write but never did much myself. It took a year of backpacking around the world to find that my early desire to write hadn’t left me, it had just got buried under a busy and demanding job.

I wrote my first novel on notebooks bought in Quebec, Spain, Greece and Indonesia. That story never made it out of the notebooks, but I’d been bitten by the writing bug.

And then I discovered Romance and … the rest is…. historicals…

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Review - The Killing Game

Title:   The Killing Game
Author:  Iris Johansen
Series:  Eve Duncan #2
Genre:   Mystery/Thrillers
Publisher:  Bantam
Format:  Audiobook
No. of Pages:   384
Date of Publication:   1999; 2018
My Rating: 4.5 Stars

DESCRIPTION:

A merciless killer on the hunt...an innocent child in his sights...a woman driven to the edge to stop him...

The killer knows Eve Duncan all too well. He knows the pain she feels for her murdered daughter, Bonnie, whose body has never been found. He knows that as one of the nation's top forensic sculptors she'll insist on identifying the nine skeletons unearthed on a bluff near Georgia's Talladega Falls. He knows she won't be able to resist the temptation of believing that one of those skeletons might be her daughter's. But that is only the beginning of the killer's sadistic game. He wants Eve one on one, and he'll use his ace in the hole to make sure she complies. And he won't stop playing until he claims the prize he wants most: Eve's life.


MY THOUGHTS:

There is a brutal serial killer on the loose. After several bodies were unearthed, in his frustration that he may have finally made a mistake after years of killing, he sets his sights of renowned forensic sculptor Eve Duncan.

Years ago, Eve lost her precious daughter Bonnie to a serial killer. She has crafted her career structuring faces from skeletons and other means with hopes of providing closure to families who have lost their children. Eve, however, never had such closure. Bonnie's body was never found. Until now. Now? Quite possibly. Therefore, the investigation into the site where the bodies are found takes on an extremely personal edge.

In order to have Eve believe that one of the bodies discovered is actually Bonnie's, the killer begins a terrifying game of cat and mouse. To capture Eve's attention, the life of a ten-year-old child is suddenly at risk. Eve begins receiving clues as to the girl's danger, all while hoping to reconstruct the skeleton that just might be Bonnie's.

Before the discovery of the bodies, Eve took off with John Logan. Not only was she able to shake off her traumatic work for a time, she was able to fully regroup. Little did Eve know that close friend Joe Quinn had been looking for the perfect opportunity to snatch her back and to make her a part of his life. in a way she never expected or even dreamed could happen. Meanwhile, Joe is extremely concerned for Eve and knows that the identification of the skeleton might hurt Eve to the very core.

The Killing Game is a fast-moving book. Not only is Eve in danger, but also a young child. Meanwhile, there is a fair bit of romance in this story. Readers of the first book, The Face of Deception, might not be surprised, but perhaps as to the reasoning. Nonetheless, the course has been set and there are now 25 titles in this exciting series. I have already had the pleasure of reading a few more at the time of writing this review, The Search, Body of Lies and Dead Aim. Blind Alley is next in line for my greedy eyes.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

IRIS JOHANSEN is The New York Times bestselling author of Your Next Breath, The Perfect Witness, Live to See Tomorrow, Silencing Eve, Hunting Eve, Taking Eve, Sleep No More, What Doesn't Kill You, Bonnie, Quinn, Eve,Chasing The Night, Eight Days to Live, Blood Game, Deadlock, Dark Summer, Pandora's Daughter, Quicksand,Killer Dreams, On The Run, Countdown, Firestorm, Fatal Tide, Dead Aim, and more. And with her son Roy Johansen, she has coauthored The Naked Eye, Sight Unseen, Close Your Eyes, Shadow Zone, Storm Cycle, and Silent Thunder.

Johansen began writing after her children left home for college. She first achieved success in the early 1980s writing category romances. In 1991, Johansen began writing suspense historical romance novels, starting with the publication of The Wind Dancer. In 1996 Johansen switched genres, turning to crime fiction, with which she has had great success. She had seventeen consecutive New York Times bestsellers as of November 2006.

Johansen lives near Atlanta, Georgia and is married. Her son, Roy Johansen, is an Edgar Award-winning screenwriter and novelist. Her daughter, Tamara, serves as her research assistant.


Review - An Unsettled Grave

Title:   An Unsettled Grave
Author:  Bernard Schaffer
Series:  A Santero and Rein Thriller #2
Genre:   Mystery/Thriller
Publisher:  Kensington
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   288
Date of Publication:  July 30, 2019
My Rating:  4 Stars 

DESCRIPTION:

In this brilliantly chilling follow-up to The Thief of All Light, veteran police officer Bernard Schaffer digs deep into the past--and the haunted psyches of the detectives who search for truth . . . at any cost.

"There's a thousand scavengers in these woods."

Before being promoted to detective, Carrie Santero was given a rare glimpse into the mind of a killer. Through her mentor, Jacob Rein--a seasoned manhunter whose gift for plumbing the depths of madness nearly drove him over the brink--she was able to help capture one of the most depraved serial killers in the country. Now, the discovery of a small human foot buried in the Pennsylvania woods will lead her to a decades-old cold case--and the darkest secrets of her mentor's youth.

"Nobody trusts an animal that tries to eat its own kind."

Thirty years ago, a young girl went missing. A police officer was murdered. Another committed suicide. The lives of everyone involved would never be the same. For three agonizing decades, Jacob Rein has yearned for the truth. But when Detective Carrie Santero begins digging up new evidence, she discovers some answers come with shattering consequences.

MY THOUGHTS:

In this second book in this series by Bernard Schaffer, Carrie Santero is a full-fledged detective after solving an incredibly vile case. Carrie then worked with a former detective, Jacob Rein, who remains her mentor, even though he is highly disillusioned and really down on his luck.

The case Carrie is working on is a cold one. A foot was found, and it looks like it might belong to a young girl who went missing thirty years ago. At first Carrie approaches Jacob for help, and then realizes she must head to a small town. In so doing, Jacob's past is unearthed. Carrie learns all about a young boy, J.D. Rein, and discovers the connection the little girl lost so many years ago.

Carrie leaves no stone unturned, and reveals some disturbing and shattering evidence. Discovering a connection between Jacob and the formerly missing girl raised a lot of questions. However, Carrie showed remarkable integrity and ingenuity in solving this case.

Even though An Unsettled Grave is the second book in a series, it does remarkably well as a standalone. However, I did read the first book, The Thief of All Light, first as I wanted to become familiar with the primary characters. I generally read books in one sitting, including both of these, back-to-back. I was thoroughly entertained, even with the often gritty delivery as things played out.

I admire the writing style of Bernard Schaffer. His brilliance and honesty in the sometimes less-than-perfect police force shines. Another effective thing in this book was the determination showed by Carrie. I like how her character is written, and also how her past shaped her into the person she is now. I look forward to following this series in the future.

Many thanks to Kensington Publishing and to NetGalley for this ARC to review in exchange for my honest opinion.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Bernard Schaffer is the author of the Santero and Rein Thriller Series from Kensington Publications. AN UNSETTLED GRAVE, the second in the series, is available now. 

Prior to that, Schaffer was a prolific independent author and publisher with works that included best-selling titles such as SUPERBIA, WAY OF THE WARRIOR, and more. 

In addition to writing, Schaffer is the father of two children and a full-time police detective in the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA

Friday, August 16, 2019

Review - Temper

Title:   Temper
Author:  Layne Fargo
Genre:   Psychological Thriller
Publisher:  Gallery
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   352
Date of Publication:  July 2, 2019
My Rating:  4 Stars

DESCRIPTION:

For fans of the high-stakes tension of the New York Times bestsellers Luckiest Girl Alive and The Lying Game, a razor-sharp page-turner about female ambition and what happens when fake violence draws real blood…

After years of struggling in the Chicago theater scene, ambitious actress Kira Rascher finally lands the role of a lifetime. The catch? Starring in Temper means working with Malcolm Mercer, a mercurial director who’s known for pushing his performers past their limits—onstage and off.

Kira’s convinced she can handle Malcolm, but the theater’s cofounder Joanna Cuyler is another story. Joanna sees Kira as a threat—to her own thwarted artistic aspirations, her twisted relationship with Malcolm, and the shocking secret she’s keeping about the upcoming production. But as opening night draws near, Kira and Joanna both start to realize that Malcolm’s dangerous extremes are nothing compared to what they're capable of themselves.

An edgy, addictive, and fiendishly clever tale of ambition, deceit, and power, Temper is a timely, heart-in-your-throat psychological thriller that will leave you breathless. 

MY THOUGHTS:

Kira Rascher is extremely ambitious. She will stop at nothing to get a role on a play named Temper. This would be the role of a lifetime, and it will require her to work with one of the most difficult men in the industry, Malcolm Mercer. He is a director who takes whatever he wants from his performers. Kira is more than aware of Malcolm's reputation, but it doesn't deter her in any way.

Malcolm's theater co-founder, Joanna Cuyler can spot trouble a mile away when it comes to Kira's audition for the play. She is Malcolm's partner in a romantic sense, even though she knows what he does with his actresses. Even so, Joanna is really disturbed by Kira's presence.

Malcolm, Kira and Joanna all have dangerous secrets. These very secrets could indeed affect the play, but more so, their lives. Their desires are base, through and through, and if it takes violence to get what each of them want, well, so be it.

I kind of love it when I read a story where I just about despise everyone. Kudos to Layne Fargo to created such unlikable characters, whether they are primary or secondary. Despite my ire, I have to admit to finding this story enthralling. After all, watching people self-destruct, even when they strive to see others fail, is weirdly entertaining.

I cannot wait to see what this author has on tap next. She wrote a fantastic psychological thriller and I am ecstatic that this debut author could keep me focused from beginning to end. She has an upcoming read in 2020, Learn Her Wrath. I imagine it will be another terrific read.

Many thanks to Gallery and to NetGalley for this ARC to review in exchange for my honest opinion.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Layne Fargo is a thriller author with a background in theater and library science. She’s a Pitch Wars mentor, a member of the Chicagoland chapter of Sisters in Crime, and the cocreator of the podcast Unlikeable Female Characters. Layne lives in Chicago with her partner and their pets.

Review - The Thief of All Light

Author:  Bernard Schaffer
Series:  A Santero and Rein Thriller #1
Genre:   Mystery/Thriller
Publisher:  Kensington
Format:  Audiobook
No. of Pages:   368
Date of Publication:  July 31, 2018
My Rating:  4 Stars

DESCRIPTION:

"Tense, fast, and excellent--I loved this book."
--Lee Child

From veteran police detective Bernard Schaffer comes a powerful new thriller that crackles with authenticity, page-turning suspense, and spellbinding glimpses into the criminal mind . . .

"It was one thing to fantasize about evil, to reach into the darkness and play with it a little . . ." 

Rookie cop Carrie Santero has always been fascinated by serial killers. As a teenager, she wrote a letter to Charles Manson in prison--and received a chilling reply. Then she came face to face with a child murderer in her small Pennsylvania town, an encounter that haunts her to this day. Now, as a detective in training, she finally has her chance to make a difference; to hunt down a psychopathic sadist who embodies the very nature of evil itself.

". . . but it was something different when it knew your name." 

The killer draws inspiration from the most twisted minds in modern crime. Ted Bundy. John Wayne Gacy. Ed Gein. The Green River Killer. As the body count rises, Carrie and her boss, Chief Bill Waylon, realize they're dealing with an unpredictable "omnikiller" who cannot be profiled. Their only hope is to enlist the help of Jacob Rein, a brilliant but tarnished former detective who has plumbed the darkest recesses of the soul. Who has seen the heart of darkness. And whose insights on evil could lead Carrie to the point of no return. 

MY THOUGHTS:

A story about detectives written by a detective. In this thrilling start to a new series by Bernard Schaffer, Carrie Santero is a rookie cop who has managed to become a detective in the small town of Pennsylvania where she lives. Carrie has always had a fascination with the criminal mind. When she was a teenager, she wrote a letter to Charles Manson. Now, she faces a killer that is much too much like Manson.

Carrie is facing a child murderer. She is training and has the help of a former detective Jacob Rein. He has had some very dark cases over his career, and although he is no longer a cop, proves to be invaluable with Carrie's first murder case. Carrie's boss, Chief Bill Waylon, is tough but dedicated. When they realize the murderer they are after embodies the worst criminal minds wrapped up in one, Jacob proves to be invaluable to them.

Reading books written by cops are hit or miss for me. In some cases they are far too gruesome. While this book was incredibly intense, with some scenes that will take me a while to forget, there is no doubt that Schaffer's experience shines brightly in his writing. I was definitely captured by the intelligent writing, the case, the mind of the psychopathic killer and the teamwork involved when it came to taking down a brutal killer.

I have the second book in this series, An Unsettled Grave, for review, so I felt impelled to read this title, The Thief of All Light, first. I wanted to get to know Carrie and Jacob Rein. It was good to see how such a young woman could become a detective. It was also good to see how strong and intelligent she is. I have already read the second book and will definitely be following this series.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Bernard Schaffer is the author of the Santero and Rein Thriller Series from Kensington Publications. AN UNSETTLED GRAVE, the second in the series, is available now. 

Prior to that, Schaffer was a prolific independent author and publisher with works that included best-selling titles such as SUPERBIA, WAY OF THE WARRIOR, and more. 

In addition to writing, Schaffer is the father of two children and a full-time police detective in the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA

Review - The Friendship Pact

Author:  Alison James
Genre:   Psychological Thriller
Publisher:  Bookouture
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   278
Date of Publication:  June 28, 2019
My Rating:  4 Stars

DESCRIPTION:

I’m Lucy, and I have a secret.
I have a beautiful home, that I’m desperate to escape.
But that’s not my secret.
I tell my friends I’ve never wanted children, when I always have.
But that’s not my secret.
My husband is a celebrated surgeon, who tries to control me.
But that’s not my secret.

Adele knows.
Once upon a time, I knew everything about her and she knew everything about me.
Best friends forever.
But now our secret is beginning to surface.
I can trust her more than anyone. We made a pact.
And she’s never do anything to hurt me. Would she?

This absolutely gripping psychological thriller will have you forgetting everything until the last shocking twist. Fans of Behind Closed Doors, Friend Request, and The Girl on the Trainwill be hooked. 


MY THOUGHTS:

Lucy has had to cope with two extremely difficult time periods in her life. Something dreadful happened in her childhood and something beyond impossible is going on in her present. As far as when Lucy was a child, she befriended Adele. Theirs was a tenuous friendship from the outset, but after a mutual friend, Joanne, lost her life in a horrible accident, Lucy and Adele lost the bond they had.

Years later, Lucy is married to a prominent surgeon. The least of her problems is that he decided they would never have children, despite how she felt about it. The depth of their problems, however, is the extreme controlling and domestic violence that she can't seem to get away from, no matter how hard she tries.

Running out of options, Lucy is forced to locate Adele and ask her for help. After their experiences as children begs the question: can Adele be trusted? Can she be the key to helping Lucy escape the clutches of her dangerous husband?

With one untimely event after another, combined with duplicity on more than one level, Lucy fights tooth and nail to take a hold of her life. All the while, with the exception of Lucy,  the story is filled with page after page of rather unlikable characters. Lucy is head and shoulders above just about everyone else, and I rooted from her from the beginning until the thrilling end. Alison James has written another engaging story. 

Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC to review in exchange for my honest opinion.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Born in the Cotswolds, Alison spent most of her formative years abroad. She studied languages at Oxford, then became a journalist and author, returning to university after her two children to take a law degree. After a three-year stint as a criminal paralegal, Alison worked as a commercial copywriter and then a TV storyliner, before coming full circle to write fiction again.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

BLOG TOUR - Her Silent Cry


Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for Her Silent Cry by Lisa Regan.


DESCRIPTION:

Round and round she goes, blonde pigtails flying, her high-pitched giggle catching on the wind. But as the ride slows to a stop, her seat is suddenly empty. Little Lucy is gone…

When seven-year-old Lucy Ross is snatched from the carousel in Denton city park, Detective Josie Quinn joins the frantic search. She’s the one who finds Lucy’s sparkly butterfly backpack abandoned by the ticket booth, a note with a devastating message stuffed inside: answer your phone, or your sweet little darling will die…


The next day, Lucy’s parents are filled with hope when they pick up a call which they think is from their babysitter – but instead it’s a chilling male voice on the line. Josie races to the babysitter’s small apartment only to find her lifeless body in a tangle of sheets on her bed.


Josie is faced with the most high-stakes case of her career as each new phone call from someone connected to the family ends with the shocking discovery of another body. This twisted killer wants revenge, and he won’t stop until the Ross family are in pieces…


Something is telling Josie that Lucy’s parents aren’t giving her the whole truth, but digging deeper into their lives will force her to confront a life-changing secret of her own. Does Josie have what it takes to crack this case? She has no choice if she’s going to bring Lucy home alive…



An absolutely unputdownable new crime thriller from an Amazon, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. Readers who love Robert Dugoni, Angela Marsons and Rachel Caine will be hooked until the final, jaw-dropping page.


BUY LINKS:
MY THOUGHTS:

Title:  Her Silent Cry
Author:  Lisa Regan
Series:  Detective Josie Quinn #6
Genre:   Mystery/Thrillers
Publisher:   Bookouture
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:  385
Date of Publication:  August 14, 2019
My Rating:  4 Stars

Detective Josie Quinn is at the playground one day and hears panicked parents screaming that they cannot find their seven-year-old, Lucy Ross. Lucy and her mother are on the merry-go-round, and Lucy's father is off the the side, busy on his cell phone.

Josie starts searching right away and quickly spots Lucy's backback, which was described by her frantic mother. Shockingly, there is a message inside of the backpack, and it says for them to answer their phone, or else their daughter might die..

Both Josie and her team, as well as the FBI search high and low for Lucy. With eerie phone calls and tragic murders, hope is something difficult to come by. Will Lucy's parents ever see her again? As things progress, secrets are revealed when it comes to the parents, but there is also something that personally affects Josie.

I have read most of the books in this series so I am quite familiar with Josie, her team, and her family. Although they are all in this book, the focus is on the case at hand. So, those who have not read the previous titles should have no problem finding themselves quit engaged in this story. Her Silent Cry was a one-sitting read that kept my interest from the very beginning, and the ending definitely made me catch my breath! I cannot wait to see Josie in action again.

Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC to review in exchange for my honest opinion.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Lisa Regan is an Amazon bestselling crime novelist.  She has a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Master of Education Degree from Bloomsburg University.  She is a member of Sisters In Crime, Mystery Writers of America and International Thriller Writers. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and daughter.