Saturday, May 29, 2021

BLOG BLITZ - Shelter in the Storm

Title:   Shelter in the Storm
Author:  Laurel Blount
Series:  John Mills Amish Romance #1
Publisher:  Berkley Books
Genre:   Inspirational Romance
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   336
Date of Publication:   May 26, 2021
My Rating:  5 Stars

DESCRIPTION:

In this moving Amish romance, two broken hearts find hope in each other after a terrible loss.

Unspeakable tragedy strikes the Amish hamlet of Johns Mill when an unstable Englischer opens fire in the Hochstedler General Store. In the aftermath, and under the media's spotlight, Joseph Hochstedler struggles to hold his shattered family together, drawing unexpected comfort from a faithful childhood friend.

Born with a serious heart defect, optimist Naomi Schrock has always longed to live a life of service. She rolls up her sleeves, determined to help Joseph cope with this terrible crisis. But dare she hope that his friendship will finally deepen into love?

As the media's obsession with the Hochstedler shooting escalates, Joseph and Naomi find themselves caught between tradition and compromise, between lingering sorrows and uncertain hopes. And in the end, two people who've already lost far too much must find the courage to trust their hearts one last time.


MY THOUGHTS:

Naomi Schrock has had a lifetime of heart problems, but a surgery finally restored her to good health. When she discovers that Joseph Hochstedler is in need of assistance, she steps in to help as much as possible with his business, but moreso with his sister. Joseph has experienced tragedy of the worst time and he does what he can to stabilize his family.

Since the tragedy that hit his family was so awful, it has drawn the media's attention. They have a bite and they will not let go. Meanwhile, Joseph and Naomi begin to develop feelings for one another. However, neither can trust their hearts, and putting their faith into the future seems truly impossible.

This heartwarming story shares the trials of a family that is rooted in faith, love and commitment. The story is also about values and compromise. Compassion for the characters in this wonderful book came quite easy, making this a thoroughly enjoyable read.

I love that Shelter in the Storm is the first book in a new series. I cannot wait to see what characters will be featured and how they deal with the pressures of life, all while remaining true to their faith, with love as a backdrop that leads to a happy future.

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


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Award-winning author Laurel Blount writes captivating romances full of grit and grace--with characters who'll walk right off the page and into your heart. She lives on a farm in Georgia with her husband, their four fabulous kids, and an assortment of ridiculously spoiled animals.

BLOG TOUR - The Marriage Lie


DESCRIPTION
:

My husband is asking me to do the impossible. But if I don’t do what he wants, he will tell our daughter everything…

Stella follows her handsome husband Rob to the beautifully laid-out table in the restaurant he’s chosen specially for her fortieth birthday lunch. As the waiter pops the champagne, Rob proposes a toast and their crystal glasses clink together in celebration. Stella knows how they must look to anyone watching. Two people very much in love, with the perfect marriage and the perfect life.

But Rob is about to drop a bombshell on Stella. He wants a divorce.

If she doesn’t give him exactly what he wants – the house, the money and full custody of fourteen-year-old Georgie – he will tell their precious daughter the one secret Stella has worked so hard to protect her from.

Stella has a choice to make. To fight for her daughter, there is only one person she can turn to for help. Someone she hasn’t spoken to in over a decade. If she doesn’t, Rob will win. But to do it means facing up to her biggest regret, and risks losing Georgie forever, once she learns the truth…

An absolutely heart-breaking and gripping novel about the price of keeping a secret. Fans of Amanda Prowse, Kate Hewitt and Susan Lewis will be gripped by this emotional family drama from the very first page.


BUY LINKS:
Amazon: https://geni.us/B08Y8JLVPQCover
Apple: http://ow.ly/brCe50DTSfl
Kobo: http://ow.ly/Qzkf50DTSdG
Google: http://ow.ly/iUQu50DTZao

MY THOUGHTS:
 
Title
:   The Marriage Lie
Author:  Ali Mercer
Publisher:  Bookouture
Genre:  Women's Fiction
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   364
Date of Publication:   May 28, 2021
My Rating:   5 Stars

A beautiful lunch, just the two of them. Their daughter is away on a school trip for a couple of days. Stella is happy. Everything is going well in her life. Then her husband Rob takes her to show her a beautiful house in a gated community. But...wait. Rob has a plan and he is not about to compromise. In short. The marriage is over, and he is taking primary custody of their teen daughter Georgie. If Stella balks, Rob will share a secret she has been hiding for years. Blackmail, and not a gentle one by any stretch of the imagination.

Stella is reeling. While it is true that the secret that Stella is hiding will devastate Georgie, she looks for a way to get around Rob and his ideas. However, Stella is plagued with concern when she worries about Georgie discovering the secret she has been hiding. Will Stella accept a divorce from Rob and accept the conditions he is pressing on her? 

What is this secret? What actually happened in Stella's past? What about now? What is more is that Stella has a strained relationship with her mother, stepfather, and especially her sister. Considering that her mother is Rob's #1 fan certainly doesn't make things any easier for Stella. Then, considering the fact that her stepfather is terminally ill doesn't make anything going on right now any easier. What about Stella's sister Molly? Will the two of them ever be able to deal with the incredible amount of tension and distance between them?

What a story! A domestic drama at its best. So many relationships in this book. All of them filled with tension beyond belief. Stella might have one person in her corner, and that is new neighbor Tony, but even that seems iffy. Then, faced with an unexpected loss, Stella hardly has anywhere to turn. Then when we factor in Rob's agenda and Stella is forced to take matters into her own hands. The Marriage Lie was an intriguing story and I enjoyed and watching things unfold as they led to a satisfying conclusion.

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


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Ali decided she wanted to be a writer early on and wrote her first novel when she was at primary school. She did an English degree and spent her early twenties working in various jobs in journalism, including as a reporter for the showbusiness newspaper The Stage. She started writing fiction in earnest after getting married, moving out of London to the Oxfordshire market town of Abingdon and starting a family. She has two children, a daughter and a son who is autistic and was diagnosed when he was four years old.

Ali is fascinated by families, their myths and secrets, and the forces that hold them together, split them up and (sometimes) bring them back together again. She always travels with tissues and a book and has been known to cry over a good story, but is also a big fan of the hopeful ending.

Author Social Media Links:

For updates and pictures, follow Ali on Twitter (@AlisonLMercer) or Instagram (@alimercerwriter), or on her Facebook page (AliMercerwriter)

 

Friday, May 28, 2021

BLOG TOUR - Going Greek



DESCRIPTION:

Sun, sea and a sizzling romance… the perfect holiday, right? Wrong.

After a work party gone disastrously wrong, Samantha suddenly finds herself jobless and jilted. So when her sister invites Sam to stay at her little whitewashed farmhouse on a Greek island, Sam leaps at the chance to escape. Before long, she’s trundling up the cobbled driveway, almost colliding with sexy neighbour Spyros.

It isn’t all sunshine and smiles though. For every afternoon spent lounging by the pool, cocktail in hand, there is a morning spent adjusting to life with boisterous six-year-old nieces. When Spyros invites Sam to explore the island with him she’s tempted, but with his carefree, live-for-the-moment attitude, he couldn’t be more different to Sam with her five-year plans and high-maintenance hair. One drink, as friends, couldn’t hurt though? Over glasses of fruity Greek wine and honey-sweet baklava, can he – and the other charming locals – help city girl Sam to appreciate the simple pleasures the Greek life has to offer?

Just as Sam is considering ditching her designer gear for good though, she runs in to an old flame from home, and suddenly her London life comes hurtling back. Can her smooth-talking ex convince Sam to return to the concrete jungle, or will the lessons she’s learned from her Greek escape persuade her to stay?

A fun, fabulous and completely laugh-out-loud summer read perfect for fans of Carole Matthews, Jenny Colgan and Sophie Kinsella.



BUY LINKS:

MY THOUGHTS:
 
Title
:   Going Greek
Author:  Sue Roberts
Publisher:  Bookouture
Genre:   Women's Fiction; Romance; Humor
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   257
Date of Publication:   May 28, 2021
My Rating:   4 Stars

After being called a homewrecker after sleeping with a married man, Samantha finds herself without a job. A well-known television personality, now haunted by the paparazzi, Sam takes her sister Fiona up on her offer to visit her and her family in Greece. Life is beautiful on the tiny island, including spending time with her twin six-year-old nieces. Then she meets Spyros, a handsome man who gives her a tour of the island.

However, Spyros is not the only man Sam meets. She runs into first love Aaron and Sam wonders if she indeed has romantic options. After all, she sees how happy her sister and parents are in their marriages, so is there hope for her after all?

Will Sam return to London and get back in front of the camera? What about the relaxed live in Greece? Is she ready to get back to the grind or is there something there that can change the course of her life?

What a fabulous story by Sue Roberts! A delightful story from beginning to end. I loved Sam, Fiona, the twins and Spyros. I loved how happy and carefree her mother was. I loved the contrast between Sam's life in London and her time in Greece. Lastly, I loved the slow build of the romance, leaving the reader to see whether or not she would end up with Spyros or Aaron or no one at all.

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


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Sue Roberts lives in Lancashire with her long term partner Derek and has had a lifelong love of writing, encouraged by winning a school writing competition at the age of 11.

She always assumed that ‘one day’ she would write a book, always having a busy household and a job, the idea remained firmly on the back burner but never forgotten.

The inspiration for her first novel came to her on a holiday to a Greek village. Her daughters had left home and suddenly the time had come to write that book!

https://twitter.com/suerobertsautho

 

Thursday, May 27, 2021

BLOG TOUR - A Good Mother


DESCRIPTION:

I see my son’s scooter lying in the undergrowth. Time stands still. Where is he? Deafened by my own heartbeat, I keep looking but I can’t see him. This is all my fault. My punishment for the things I did, and the things I should have done.

All I ever wanted was to keep my son safe. I married the perfect husband, built the perfect home. I’ve tried to give Finn the life I never had.

Everything was going so well. Until now.

It’s just small things at first – a punctured tyre, an open gate that I'm sure I locked. But then I see the photograph of two young girls, and a night I’ve tried to forget.

I know I have to stop pretending that nothing is happening. I can’t escape the truth.

Someone knows my secret. But what do they want from me?

A gripping and suspenseful thriller with a jaw-dropping twist, fans of Friend Request, The Wife Between Us and The Girl on the Train won’t be able to put this down.


BUY LINKS:
Amazon: https://geni.us/B08X79CDWRCover
Apple: http://ow.ly/rwSU50DItSm
Kobo: http://ow.ly/8mXz50DJthM
Google: http://ow.ly/mVsR50DItWq


MY THOUGHTS: 

Title
:   A Good Mother
Author:  Sam Hepburn
Publisher:  Bookouture
Genre:   Psychological Thriller
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   343
Date of Publication:   May 26, 2021
My Rating:   4 Stars

Nicola might seem to be in an ideal marriage. Married to a successful dentist, Ian. A mother of a young son named Finn. But, before I go on, I must say that this book might trigger some readers. In all honesty, it triggered me. Ian was a controlling husband. I cringed at his level of control. Page after page kept me with a lump in my throat, and I considered putting this book down.

But, no, I kept on reading. I looked more at Nicci. I needed to see if she could fight back. For herself. For Finn. What ensued was a dramatic story of how she became married to Ian and some backstory about her less than ideal life, one spent in care after her mother's suicide. As a young mother she met Ian. However, before that, in the years in foster care, she befriended another girl named Donna.

Donna is in Nicci's past. Or had been. What brings her into the story as it unfolded?  Well, as I mentioned, drama. Not only do we see the disturbing relationship between Nicci and Ian, we see Donna come back into the picture. When Donna returns what she presents to Nicci is something very ugly. The twists in this book come fast and hard and most certainly kept me riveted to the story, although some of the twists were rather shocking.

Not only is Nicci consistently gaslighted by Ian, other strange things begin happening to her, proof that someone is watching her, that she might indeed be threatened. All of this, what is happening between her and Ian, as well as what is happening now is due to the fact that Nicci has been hiding a secret for years. Secrets, however, have a way of being exposed. How that happens in this story is up to the reader. Get past the domestic abuse and what Sam Hepburn has delivered to readers is definitely a page-turner, one that led me to just having to know the outcome. 

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


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Sam Hepburn read modern languages at Cambridge University and, after a brief spell in advertising, joined the BBC as a General Trainee. She worked as a documentary maker for twenty years and was one of the commissioners for the launch of BBC Four. Since then, she has written several books, including psychological thrillers Gone Before and Her Perfect Life, and novels for young adults and children. She won the 2017 CWA Margery Allingham Short Story award and has been nominated for several other prestigious prizes, including the CILIP Carnegie Medal for her YA thrillers.

Sam has worked and travelled widely in Africa and the Middle East, and is a trustee of the Kenyan’s children’s charity, I Afrika. She now lives in London with her husband and children.

Author Social Media Links:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Sam_Osman_Books
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/SamHepburnAuthor

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

BLOG TOUR - The Invisible Husband of Frick Island

Title
:   The Invisible Husband of Frick Island
Author:  Colleen Oakley
Publisher:  Berkley
Genre:   Women's Fiction
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   368
Date of Publication:   May 25, 2021
My Rating:   5 Stars

DESCRIPTION:

Sometimes all you need is one person to really see you.

Piper Parrish's life on Frick Island--a tiny, remote town smack in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay--is nearly perfect. Well, aside from one pesky detail: Her beloved husband, Tom, is dead. When Tom's crab boat capsized and his body wasn't recovered, Piper, rocked to the core, did a most peculiar thing: carried on as if her husband was not only still alive, but right there beside her, cooking him breakfast, walking him to the docks each morning, meeting him for their standard Friday night dinner date at the One-Eyed Crab. And what were the townspeople to do but go along with their beloved widowed Piper?

Anders Caldwell's career is not going well. A young ambitious journalist, he'd rather hoped he'd be a national award-winning podcaster by now, rather than writing fluff pieces for a small town newspaper. But when he gets an assignment to travel to the remote Frick Island and cover their boring annual Cake Walk fundraiser, he stumbles upon a much more fascinating tale: an entire town pretending to see and interact with a man who does not actually exist. Determined it's the career-making story he's been needing for his podcast, Anders returns to the island to begin covert research and spend more time with the enigmatic Piper--but he has no idea out of all the lives he's about to upend, it's his that will change the most.

USA Today bestselling author Colleen Oakley delivers an unforgettable love story about an eccentric community, a grieving widow, and an outsider who slowly learns that sometimes faith is more important than the facts.


MY THOUGHTS:
 
Piper Parrish lost her beloved husband Tom. But, not really. Everyone still talks to him, especially Piper. What is more is that she introduces him to strangers and expects them to converse with him. In fact, the newest stranger on the island is a journalist named Anders Caldwell. With a fledgling career, Anders hopes that visiting the island will jumpstart his career, especially when he discovers the strangeness that surrounds a former resident. While starting a podcast, Anders must decide whether or not he will play along, especially while he hopes his podcast will grow in popularity.

Since Anders assignment is to cover an upcoming cake walk on the island, that should be his focus. Instead, he delves into the situation involving Tom, talking to Piper and other village residents to get their take. But something more is happening with Anders. He finds himself more than drawn to the gentle beauty that is Piper.

Anders is most certainly at cross purposes when it comes to his assignment, whether it is the mystery of what is happening on the island, even with technical and environmental concerns on the rise, or his growing feelings towards Piper.

What an endearing story. I could not imagine how this story would go. Was Piper in fact delusional? What about the rest of the town? What is more is that was there a romance in the making? If so, then how? If Piper believed her husband Tom is still alive, how could this story turn? This story developed marvelously well and I loved every minute of it and was more than pleased as to how it ended.

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


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Colleen Oakley
is the USA Today bestselling author of You Were There Too, Close Enough to Touch and Before I Go. Her books have been named best books by People, Us Weekly, Library Journal and Real Simple, and have been long-listed for the Southern Book Prize. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband, four kids and the world's biggest lapdog.


 

Friday, May 21, 2021

BLOG TOUR - This Other Island



DESCRIPTION
:

Things between me and Papa are so different to what me and Mum have. It’s been that way since the first day. An invisible bond. Papa was the one who never stopped encouraging me to strive for my goals. ‘Take every opportunity dis country give you, ich mwen,’ he’d always said…

When Yvette receives a call to say her estranged father Joe has been attacked in a seemingly random act of violence, she rushes to his side. She’d stayed with her mother after her parents separated, but never forgot her father’s kind and caring ways. Memories of his wide smile and loving embraces – so different to her mother Doli – have always sustained her.

But when she arrives, ready to make peace and help him in any way she can, she finds a man different to the larger-than-life father she remembers. Joe is fighting for his life, but is also haunted by memories of his past. He begs Yvette to help him find out the truth…

About the journey that brought him and a beautiful young woman called Doli together, as they both travelled – as part of the Windrush Generation, to start new lives in Britain. About the lives they left behind in St Lucia. And about a dark secret – one that he has carried with him since stepping off the ship that wet and chilly August day. That threatened his and Doli’s marriage from the very beginning…

Only Yvette can find out what really happened on that crossing. Because, for forty years, Joe has believed that he killed a man. A man who had had feelings for Doli too. And who – as Joe knows – might hold the key to Yvette’s own story…

What follows is a heart-stopping debut novel about family, identity, secrets, lies, and the journeys that define us. It will grip you, challenge you, and ultimately break you into a thousand pieces. Perfect for fans of Small Island and Girl, Woman, Other.


BUY LINKS:

MY THOUGHTS:
 
Title
:   This Other Island
Author:  Steffanie Edward
Publisher:  Bookouture
Genre:   Woman's Fiction
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   400
Date of Publication:   May 21, 2021
My Rating:   4 Stars

Yvette's young life was one of upheaval. Raised by her aunt until the age of five, she was reunited with her parents, only to experience the separation of her parents and a future estrangement by her father. Yvette's younger years had some good moments, especially when raised around her cousin Dionne. Years later Yvette gets a call that her father had been stabbed and needs her help.

Yvette holds nothing against her father for leaving while she was a child, and is heartbroken to find out that he now has an illness far more serious than the stabbing. He requests of her to look up someone from his past and Yvette does what she can to fulfill his wishes.

Not only does the story focus on Yvette and her helping her father, her mother Dolina is also a pivotal character. The story is layered in secrets and lies, as well as family drama and reconnection. All while the story is told it flows between regular dialogue and St. Lucia dialect. Admittedly, this took some adjustment, but then it was easy to get into the mind and tongue of the characters, so much so that I was very drawn to them and the drama that unfolded. 

This book dealt with serious subject of identity and the journey that Yvette experienced once she became involved with her father. I loved how the story shifted back to Dolina and Joe and how they went from the Caribbean to London and how important their roles were during that time. To see snippets of the past and how it connected to the present showed strength that the characters maintained no matter how difficult the paths their lives took. This is indeed a story well told. I am so glad to have read this book and would highly recommend this debut novel to other readers. 

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


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Steffanie Edward was born in St Lucia, brought up in London and now straddles between the two.

Anancy, Crick-crick and other Caribbean folk stories have been a part of her life since childhood. In her late teens she enjoyed reading Susan Howatch and books on slavery. Her absolute favourite reads have been Wild Seed by Octavia E Bulter, and Woman At Point Zero by Naawal El Saadawi.

Her writing career started with short stories, five of which have been published. Her first attempt at writing a novel was over twenty years ago, whilst living and working in Abu Dhabi. That novel, Yvette, didn’t make it into print, but the main protagonist, Yvette, has muscled her way into Steffanie’s debut novel, This Other Island.

https://www.saedward.com/
https://twitter.com/EdwardsaEdward

 

BLOG TOUR - The Playdate


DESCRIPTION
:

Arranging the playdate was easy. Child’s play. Preparing the house was more difficult. It was only now she realised how many photographs there were: the picture-perfect unit. Wife, husband, child. All of it a lie.

I made a new friend at playgroup today. She’s different from the other mothers. She feels like someone I can trust. Someone I can confide in.

But there are some things I can’t tell her. Things I can’t tell anyone.

Because I have a secret that no one else knows. One that still haunts my dreams, wakes me up in a cold sweat at night.

Even another mother would never understand. Unless, of course, she’s hiding something too…

From the bestselling author of The Argument, this utterly addictive psychological thriller will have you hooked from the first page to the final, mind-blowing twist. Fans of Friend Request, The Silent Patient and The Girl on the Train won’t be able to put this down! 

BUY LINKS:
Amazon: https://geni.us/B08XWFWZMHsocial
Apple: http://ow.ly/1l3v50DOGlR
Kobo: http://ow.ly/OonD50DOGim
Google: http://ow.ly/vEKn50DOGoU

MY THOUGHTS:
 
Title
:   The Playdate
Author:  Victoria Jenkins
Publisher:  Bookouture
Genre:   Psychological Thriller
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   289
Date of Publication:   May 21, 2021
My Rating:   4 Stars

Dani is still adjusting to her daughter Layla being in a playgroup at their local church, but meeting a new friend just might help the both of them become more acclimated. Introduced to someone she has seen a couple of times already, Adele, mother to another toddler, couldn't come at a better time for Dani. Dani had recently received some bad news, so meeting for coffee might be helpful to Dani.

With regard to Adele, she is glad she made the choice to take her daughter Ivy to play group. As this story progresses, it flows between Dani and Adele's points of view. They could not be more different for several reasons. Add to that they both have secrets, and as they unravel in this thrilling story, things get off-balance real quick.

For Dani, she is receiving threatening letters. For Adele, she is having marital issues with husband Callum. Dani and Adele go beyond the playgroup and arrange a playdate for their daughters. However, although their friendship begins to thrive as they spend time together, Dani begins to wonder who is behind the notes she is getting, and she starts to wonder who she can trust. 

With shocking twists that take this story in surprising directions, especially as the secrets that these women hold start to slowly reveal several layers, much like pieces of a puzzle that engaged me and had me trying to put it all together. As always Victoria Jenkins has written a story that drew me in from the start, gave me a lot of pause, and floored me with the conclusion. As always, I loved this book, even though she gave us characters that could barely be tolerated. This only made the book better, so much so that I simply could not put it down.

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


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Victoria Jenkins lives with her husband and daughter in South Wales, where her series of crime novels featuring Detectives King and Lane is based. Her debut novel The Girls in the Water is an Amazon UK top 30 bestseller, and top 5 bestseller in the Amazon US chart.

Her first psychological thriller, The Divorce, was published in July 2019. The second, The Argument, was published December 10th 2019 and The Accusation was published June 9th 2020. Her latest novel, The Playdate is out now.

Author Social Media Links:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/victoriajenkinswriter/
Twitter: @vicwritescrime
https://twitter.com/vicwritescrime

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

BLOG TOUR - You Will Remember Me



DESCRIPTION:

He wakes up on a deserted beach in Maryland, wearing only swim trunks and a gash on his head. He can’t remember who he is. Everything—his identity, his life, his loved ones—has been replaced by a dizzying fog of uncertainty. But returning to his Maine hometown in search of the truth raises more questions than answers.

Lily Reid thinks she knows her boyfriend, Jack. Until he goes missing one night, and her frantic search reveals that he’s been lying to her since they met, desperate to escape a dark past he’d purposely left behind.

Maya Scott has been trying to find her estranged stepbrother, Asher, since he disappeared without a trace. Having him back, missing memory and all, feels like a miracle. But with a mutual history full of devastating secrets, how far will Maya go to ensure she alone takes them to the grave?


BUY LINKS:

MY THOUGHTS:
 
Title
:   You Will Remember Me
Author:  Hannah Mary McKinnon
Publisher:  MIRA
Genre:   Psychological Thriller
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   352
Date of Publication:   May 25, 2021  
My Rating:   5 Stars

He woke up battered, bruised and bloodied. Worse than that he had no memory of his location or even his name. What is more is that while wandering about he has a strong feeling of fear of approaching the police. When he gets access to a phone, there is one number he remembers, and this brings him to a life that does not resemble the one he had been living. Who did he call and what is really going on?  In fact, who beat him and left him for dead?

Lily Reid had hoped for a sexy night with her boyfriend Jack Smith. He tells her that he must finish up work but he will be there as soon as possible. When she wakes the next day she realizes that he never came over. She goes absolutely crazy trying to find him. As Lily begins to trace him, she begins to learn some disturbing facts, and that starts with his name. There is no Jack Smith. Who is the man she is desperately in love with? Why did he lie to her about his name and where has he gone?

Then there is Maya Scott. She has been looking for her stepbrother for quite some time. When he shockingly comes back to her with almost a complete loss of memory, Maya is determined never to let him go again. What ensues is a case of obsession nearly unlike anything I have ever read.

In this sharply executed thriller by Hannah Mary McKinnon, readers are taken down rather twisty tails that connects at surprising places. Love, concern, lies and obsession all become interwoven in a story that begs the reader to imagine the unimaginable. While the past is briefly explored, it is the present that delivers a fabulously written story, one where discovering who to trust is pivotal.

I must admit that there was someone that I did not trust almost from the start. In fact, we are not meant to trust, we are meant to sort things out, to seek an ending that will leave us content. Instead, we are driven down a road that almost ended at a dead stop. This book was a true page-turner. I wanted. I hoped. I didn't get. It is okay because the ride was well worth the trip.

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

Please enjoy the following excerpt:
Chapter 1—The Man from the Beach

Cold. Cold was the first word that came to mind. The first thing I noticed when I woke up. Not a slight, uncomfortable chill to give me the shivers, but a cramp-inducing, iced-to-the-bone kind of frozen. I lay flat on my stomach, my left ear and cheek pressed into the rough, grainy wet ground beneath me, my entire body shaking. As my thoughts attempted to assemble themselves into some form of understandable order, a wave of icy water nipped at my bare toes and ankles, my instincts pulling my feet out of reach.

I had a sudden urge to get up, a primal need to take in my surroundings and assess the danger—was I in danger?—but the throbbing pain deep in my head made the slightest effort to shift anything seem impossible. Lifting a finger would be too much effort, and I acquiesced, allowing myself to lie still for another few freezing seconds as the frigid water crept over the balls of my feet again. When I blinked my eyes open, I was met by a thick, fuzzy darkness enveloping me like a cloak. Where the hell was I? And wherever it was, what was I doing here?

When I lifted my head a fraction of an inch, I could barely make out anything in front of me. There was hardly a noise either, nothing but a gentle, steady rumble in the background, and the cry of a bird somewhere in the distance. I made my brain work its way backward—bird, rumble, sand, water—and the quartet formed the vaguely cohesive image of a beach.

Searching for confirmation, I inhaled the salty, humid air deep into my lungs as another slosh of water took aim at my calves. This time the discomfort was enough to push me to my feet, and I wrapped my arms around my naked torso, my sopping board shorts clinging to my goose-bump-covered thighs. An explosion of pain in my head threatened to send me back to my knees, and I swayed gently, wishing I had something to steady myself with, willing my body to stay upright. As I pressed a hand to the side of my skull, I let out a quiet yelp, and felt along a two-inch gash in my scalp. My eyes had adjusted somewhat to the lack of light, and my fingertips were covered in something dark that smelled of rust. Blood. How had I…?

Another low rumble made me turn around, shuffling slowly in a semicircle. The behemoth effort was rewarded by the sight of a thousand glistening waves dancing under the moonlight like diamonds, the water stretching out and disappearing into the darkness beyond. As my ears tuned in to the rhythmic whoosh of the waves, my mind worked hard to process each scrap of information it took in.

I’m definitely on a beach. It’s nighttime. I’m alone. What am I doing here?

Before I could answer the single question, a thousand others crowded my brain, an incessant string of chatter I couldn’t stop or get away from.

Where is everyone? Never mind them, where am I? Have I been here long? How did I get here? Where was I before? Where are my clothes? What day is it?

My legs buckled. Not because of the unfamiliar surroundings, the cold burrowing its way deeper into my core, or the pain in my head, which had increased tenfold. No. My knees hit the sand with a dull crunch when I realized I couldn’t answer any of the questions because I couldn’t recall anything. Nothing. Not the tiniest of details. Including my name.

Chapter 2—Lily

A frown settled over my face as I put my phone on the table, pushed the bowl of unfinished berry oatmeal away and stretched out my legs. It was Saturday morning, and I’d been up for ages, too eager—too hopeful—to spend a day at the beach with Jack, but those plans had been a literal wash-out. The start to the summer felt capricious, with this second storm in the last week of June poised to be much worse than the first. I’d convinced myself the weatherwoman had exaggerated or got her forecast completely wrong, but clouds had rolled in overnight anyway. As a result, I’d been unceremoniously woken up at two thirty by a trio of bright lightning, deafening thunderclaps and heavy raindrops pelting against my bedroom window.

At first, I’d pulled my pillow over my head to deafen the noise, and when that didn’t work, I rolled over and stretched out an arm. The spot next to me was empty and cold, and I groaned. Jack hadn’t come over to my place as I’d hoped he would, slipping into bed and pressing his naked body against mine. I’d buried my face back into my pillow and tried to ignore the tinge of disappointment. We hadn’t seen much of each other this past week, both of us too busy with our jobs to spend more than a night together, and I missed him. Jack had called the day before to tell me he’d be working late, finishing the stain on the cabinets he’d labored on for weeks before his boss had to let him go. Apparently expensive custom kitchens weren’t in as high demand in Brookmount, Maryland as originally thought.

“But you got laid off,” I’d said. “It’s your last day. Why do you care?”

“Because I made a commitment. Besides, it’ll help when I need a reference.”

Typical Jack, always keeping his word. He’d bought a lottery ticket once, and the clerk had jokingly asked if he’d give him half of any winnings. Jack had laughed and shaken the man’s hand, and when he won ten bucks on the ticket, had promptly returned to the store, and paid over the share as promised. His loyalty was one of the many things I loved about Jack, although part of me wished he weren’t quite as dedicated to his soon-to-be ex-boss.

“You could come over to my place when you’re done,” I said, smiling slowly. “I’ll leave the key under the umbrella stand. I don’t mind you waking me up gently in the middle of the night…or not so gently.”

Jack laughed softly. The sound was something I’d fallen in love with eighteen months ago after our eyes had met across a crowded bar, the mother of all uninspired first-encounter clich├ęs, except in this case I’d been forced to admit clich├ęs weren’t always a bad thing.

“It’ll be really late, Lily,” he said, his voice deep. His English accent was something of a rarity in our small coastal town, and still capable of making my legs wobble in anticipation of his next words. “I’ll go for a quick swim now, then finish up work. How about I come over in the morning? Around nine? I’ll bring you breakfast in bed.”

“Blueberry pancakes from Patti’s? With extra maple syrup?”

“This time I’ll order three stacks to make sure I get some.”

“Pancakes or sex?” I said, before telling him how much I loved him, and whispering exactly how I’d thank him for waking me with sweet weekend treats. I’d hoped it might change his mind and he’d come over earlier, except it was ten now, and he still hadn’t showed. It was odd. Jack detested being late as much as he loved being early. He often joked they set Greenwich Mean Time by his father’s old watch, which Jack had worn since his dad passed a little over a decade before we’d met, when Jack was only twenty.

I checked my phone again. Jack hadn’t answered either of my calls, another anomaly, but I tried to talk myself into believing he’d worked late into the night to make the final good impression he wanted, and overslept. Maybe there was a line at Patti’s—the restaurant was slammed every weekend—and perhaps his phone was set to silent.

I picked up my bowl and wandered to the kitchen. My place was the smallest of six apartments, a tiny but well-maintained one-bedroom in a building a few miles from the beach, farther than I’d planned, but the closest I could afford. I’d lived there for almost five years, had furnished it with an eclectic assortment of third-hand furniture, my favorite piece a royal blue microfiber sofa I’d bought for fifty bucks, and which Jack swore was the most comfortable thing he’d ever sat on. Whenever he sank down into it and pulled me on top of him with a contented sigh, I’d tease him about what made him happier; the squishy, well-worn cushions, or me.

The image made my frown deepen. Where was he?

Excerpted from You Will Remember Me by Hannah Mary McKinnon, Copyright © 2021 by Hannah McKinnon. Published by MIRA Books



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Hannah Mary McKinnon was born in the UK, grew up in Switzerland and moved to Canada in 2010. After a successful career in recruitment, she quit the corporate world in favor of writing, and is now the author of The Neighbors, Her Secret Son, and Sister Dear. She lives in Oakville, Ontario, with her husband and three sons, and is delighted by her twenty-second commute.


Tuesday, May 18, 2021

BLOG TOUR - The Frozen Girl


DESCRIPTION:

The young woman’s mouth is slightly parted, as if waiting to speak. Her body is frozen in ice and her blue eyes stare at the sky, perhaps wanting to look at the stars one last time…

When the body of a woman is found in the frozen Neponset River, just where it meets the sea, Jessie Novak and her partner Detective Sam Dallas rush to the scene. When Jessie sees a flash of a familiar silk scarf, she’s shocked to realize the girl in the ice is Sheila Logan, who she worked closely with for years at Boston City Hospital. Jessie desperately wants to find out how this young and talented nurse ended up an innocent victim.

But who would want to kill her? As she digs into Sheila’s past, Jessie realizes she was having an affair with a colleague and may even have been pregnant. Was her lover unwilling to be a father to her child? The pain of Sheila’s death threatens to tear open Jessie’s old wounds—Jessie’s own mother walked out on her when she was just a baby and never looked back. She can’t change her own past, but she’s determined to get justice for Sheila.

When Sheila’s neighbor is found dead, also wearing a distinctive scarf, Jessie sees a lethal pattern forming. Next, someone breaks into Jessie’s car and she knows she’s being warned off the case. But with the killer in her sights, will she take the deadliest risk of her life? Can Jessie catch him, before he catches up to her?

This utterly addictive novel will keep you up all night! Fans of Lisa Regan, Rachel Abbott and Tess Gerritsen will be totally hooked until the last heart-thumping page.

BUY LINKS:

MY THOUGHTS:
 
Title
:   The Frozen Girl
Author:  Roberta Gately
Series:  Jessie Novak #2
Publisher:  Bookouture
Genre:   Mystery/Thrillers
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   301
Date of Publication:   May 18, 2021
My Rating:   5 Stars

Jessie Novak is a busy ER nurse. As if her time isn't already at a premium, she joins the Homicide unit in the Boston Police Department as a forensic nurse. Jessie will be working along with Sam Dallas, a close friend, and perhaps soon to be more. With one of Jessie's workmates at the hospital is discovered to be missing, it is disturbingly shocking to discover that she was a murder victim, found frozen in a river near the ocean.

The body belongs to Sheila Logan, identified at the autopsy Jessie attends as part of her new job. Jessie's job does not entail being a homicide detective, but she does whatever she can to try to determine why Sheila was killed and who could be responsible. Sheila did not have a good reputation. In fact, she was not well liked, by Jessie and others. But, professional to the core, Jessie puts those feelings aside to try to unravel the pieces to what proves to be a complicated case.

Rumors were already floating about that Sheila was having an affair with a colleague at the hospital, but even more, she very well might have been pregnant. While Jessie is searching for clues, she has a major distraction. Abandoned by her mother while very young, a woman approaches Jessie saying that she is her mother. Jessie wonders how much she can trust the stranger that knows some details about her early life, but trust is far from her reach.

When another murder occurs, Jessie and Sam cannot help but wonder if the cases are connected, especially when their appears to be a similar clue with the new body. Meanwhile, the closer Jessie gets, the more dangerous things get for her. There was a character right from the start that I did not trust, so it was interesting to see whether or not I was on the right track.

I am enjoying Jessie and her take on things as she proves to be quite adept as a detective. We first met Jessie in Dead Girl Walking, the first book in this engaging series. As a resident in a small town near Boston, I loved reading about familiar locations as the story progressed. I am eager to read more in this exciting series.
 
Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Roberta Gately lives in Boston where she works as a nurse at the Boston Medical Center. It was in the ER where she developed an interest in the investigations behind the crimes and the victims she encountered. Working in a busy ER is much like being a detective—the search for answers is a methodical process, not unlike the work required to solve a murder!

Her crime series with Bookouture stars the brave and brilliant ER nurse Jessie Novak who teams up with her detective friend to solve tricky Boston murder cases. Expect addictive mysteries, breathtaking suspense and a gutsy heroine you’ll never forget. When she’s not writing or working at the hospital, Roberta enjoys reading, working out and spending time with friends and family.

She has also worked in humanitarian aid, providing medical care in some of the world’s bleakest spots ranging from Africa to Afghanistan. Her two previous novels, Lipstick in Afghanistan and The Bracelet were based upon her experiences of nursing abroad. Her memoir—Footprints in the Dust tells the true stories of some of the extraordinary people she met.

Author Social Media Links
Roberta loves hearing from readers and you can get in touch with her using the links below.

Author website: robertagately.com
Twitter: twitter.com/RobertaGately
Facebook page: facebook.com/RobertaGatelyAuthor
Instagram instagram.com/roberta_gately