Sunday, May 22, 2022

BLOG TOUR - Her Child’s Cry

 

DESCRIPTION:

‘I just want my little girl back. She’s so little, she needs her mummy. And she doesn’t even have her panda bear with her. Find her, please find her, before it’s too late.’

Little 
Rosie Blake has been taken. Since going missing from the hospital where she was being treated for cancer, Rosie’s distraught parents haven’t heard a word. And time is swiftly running out. They have to find her, and right away, because Rosie can only survive for ten days without her medication.

With the police unable to find any leads at all, criminal behaviourist
 Jessie Boyle and her team are brought in to help. Who would be so evil as to steal a sick child? Narrowing down on a suspect, Jessie quickly moves to arrest them, only to discover the suspect’s dead body instead... And with no Rosie in sight, the case becomes even more desperate.

Who killed their chief suspect, and where is Rosie now? And is Rosie’s disappearance linked to the sudden revival of Dublin’s Hellfire Club, an ancient and terrifying cult obsessed with death and human sacrifice?

As the race to find Rosie intensifies, her heartbroken parents know their little girl’s time is running out. The clock is ticking, but Jessie clings on to the hope of finding her safe. Then her search leads her to Ireland’s remote mountains... Will Jessie be able to survive the deadly threat that awaits her, rescue Rosie, and get her back to safety, before it’s too late?

An utterly compelling crime thriller that will have you hooked from the very first line. Fans of Patricia Gibney, Lisa Gardner and Lisa Regan will not want to miss this. 

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

MY THOUGHTS:
 
Title:   Her Child’s Cry
Author:  S. A. Dunphy
Series:  Boyle & Keneally Book 3
Publisher:  Bookouture 
Genre:  Mystery & Thrillers
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   333
Date of Publication:   May 18, 2022
My Rating:   4 Stars 

When nine-year-old Rosie Blake disappears from the hospital, everyone is on alert. Rosie has a rare form of cancer and has a very specific treatment plan. If she’s not found within a certain period of time she will certainly die. Criminal behaviorist Jessie Boyle and her partner Seamus Keneally must find out who took her and work hard at finding her in time.

Jessie, Seamus and the rest of the team work at a fever pace in order to locate Rosie. Danger is close at their heels, especially when a body found definitely points to the victim being Rosie’s kidnapper. Now the team must understand why the man was killed and possibly who his partner that might still have Rosie could be. 

The case takes a surprising turn when a link to a cult called The Reavers proves to be behind Rosie’s disappearance. The cult is firmly rooted in dark beliefs. Beliefs such as death and sacrifice, thus truly raising the stakes in this most serious of cases. 

This third book in the Boyle and Keneally series has the same horror vibe that was in the first two books. Perhaps not for the faint of heart, especially since a young child is concerned, but yet this book was impossible to put down. As each book in the series can work as a standalone novel, I definitely recommend reading the first two books, Bring Her Home and Lost Graves, for the full experience. I thoroughly enjoy this series and am excited for the next installment. 

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

Please also enjoy my YouTube video review - 



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Shane Dunphy (S. A. Dunphy) was born in Brighton in 1973, but grew up in Ireland, where he has lived and worked for most of his life. A child protection worker for fifteen years, he is the bestselling author of seventeen books, including the number one Irish bestseller Wednesday’s Child and the Sunday Times Bestseller The Girl Who Couldn't Smile. His bestselling series of crime novels (written under the name S. A. Dunphy) feature the criminologist David Dunnigan. Stories From the Margins, his new series of true crime books written for Audible, has been critically acclaimed and the second title in the series, The Bad Place, is an Audible True Crime bestseller.


Sign up to be the first to hear about new releases from S.A. Dunphy here: https://www.bookouture.com/s-a-dunphy/

Saturday, May 21, 2022

BLOG TOUR - On a Quiet Street


DESCRIPTION:

A simple arrangement. A web of deceit with shocking consequences.

Welcome to Brighton Hills: an exclusive, gated community set against the stunning backdrop of the Oregon coast. Home to doctors, lawyers, judges--all the most upstanding members of society. Nothing ever goes wrong here. Right?

Cora's husband, Finn, is a cheater. She knows it; she just needs to prove it. She's tired of being the nagging, suspicious wife who analyzes her husband's every move. She needs to catch him in the act. And what better way to do that than to set him up for a fall?

Paige has nothing to lose. After she lost her only child in a hit-and-run last year, her life fell apart: her marriage has imploded, she finds herself screaming at baristas and mail carriers, and she's so convinced Caleb's death wasn't an accident that she's secretly spying on all everyone in Brighton Hills so she can find the murderer. So it's easy for her to entrap Finn and prove what kind of man he really is.

But Paige and Cora are about to discover far more than a cheating husband. What starts as a little agreement between friends sets into motion a series of events neither of them could have ever predicted, and that exposes the deep fault lines in Brighton Hills. Especially concerning their mysterious new neighbor, Georgia, a beautiful recluse who has deep, dark secrets of her own...

BUY LINKS:
 
Title:  On a Quiet Street   
Author:  Seraphina Nova Glass
Publisher:  Graydon House
Genre:   Psychological Thriller
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   302
Date of Publication:   May 17, 2022
My Rating:   5 Stars

Cora, Paige and Georgia are neighbors in a not-so-perfect neighborhood. In fact, the problems there are many. For example, is Cora's husband Finn cheating on her? What has caused Georgia to become agoraphobic? What about Paige? Will she ever be able to deal with the loss of her son due to a hit-and-run accident, or to what lengths will she go to seeking the person that took him away from her? 

These neighbors' lives all intersect. Maybe at first their interactions were due to kind concern for one another, but that concern soon morphs into sinister behavior, illustrating secrets and distrust, even spying. Furthermore, at least one of the women have a deep backstory, one so deep that it changes the entire trajectory of this thrilling read. Infidelity, accidental death or worse, and other dark things are happening in the exclusive neighborhood of Brighton Hills. 

With the three POVs from the women, a sticky web of lies and secrets is spun, all leading to an exciting conclusion. In fact, as secrets are revealed, the deceit that exists between Cora, Paige and Georgia is mind-blowing. Whether it was duplicitous nature that was happening, or the way the story unfolded and came to an end, Seraphina Nova Glass had my attention from page one and never let it go.

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

Please enjoy the following excerpt:
ONE

Paige

Paige stands, watering her marigolds in the front yard and marvels at how ugly they are. The sweet-potato-orange flowers remind her of a couch from the 1970s, and she suddenly hates them. She crouches down, ready to rip them from their roots, wondering why she ever planted such an ugly thing next to her pristine Russian sage, and then the memory steals her breath. The church Mother’s Day picnic when Caleb was in the sixth grade. Some moron had let the potato salad sit too long in the sun, and Caleb got food poisoning. All the kids got to pick a flower plant to give to their moms, and even though Caleb was puking mayonnaise, he insisted on going over to pick his flower to give her. He was so proud to hand it to her in its little plastic pot, and she said they’d plant it in the yard and they’d always have his special marigolds to look at. How could she have forgotten?

She feels tears rise in her throat but swallows them down. Her dachshund, Christopher, waddles over and noses her arm: he always senses when she’s going to cry, which is almost all the time since Caleb died. She kisses his head and looks at her now-beautiful marigolds. She’s interrupted by the kid who de-livers the newspaper as he rides his bike into the cul-de-sac and tosses a rolled-up paper, hitting little Christopher on his back.

“Are you a fucking psychopath?” Paige screams, jumping to her feet and hurling the paper back at the kid, which hits him in the head and knocks him off his bike.

“What the hell is wrong with you, lady?” he yells back, scrambling to gather himself and pick up his bike.

“What’s wrong with me? You tried to kill my dog. Why don’t you watch what the fuck you’re doing?”

His face contorts, and he tries to pedal away, but Paige grabs the garden hose and sprays him down until he’s out of reach. “Little monster!” she yells after him.

Thirty minutes later, the police ring her doorbell, but Paige doesn’t answer. She sits in the back garden, drinking coffee out of a lopsided clay mug with the word Mom carved into it by little fingers. She strokes Christopher’s head and examines the ivy climbing up the brick of the garage and wonders if it’s bad for the foundation. When she hears the ring again, she hollers at them.

“I’m not getting up for you people. If you need to talk to me, I’m back here.” She enjoys making them squeeze around the side of the house and hopes they rub up against the poi-son oak on their way.

“Morning, Mrs. Moretti,” one of the officers says. It’s the girl cop, Hernandez. Then the white guy chimes in. She hates him. Miller. Of course they sent Miller with his creepy mustache. He looks more like a child molester than a cop, she thinks. How does anyone take him seriously?

“We received a complaint,” he says.

“Oh, ya did, did ya? You guys actually looking into cases these days? Actually following up on shit?” Paige says, still petting the dog and not looking at them.

“You assaulted a fifteen-year-old? Come on.”

“Oh, I did no such thing,” she snaps.

Hernandez sits across from Paige. “You wanna tell us what d id happen, then?” “Are you planning on arresting me if I don’t?” she asks, and the two officers give each other a silent look she can’t read. “His parents don’t want to press charges so…” Paige doesn’t say anything. They don’t have to tell her it’s because they pity her.

“But, Paige,” Miller says, “we can’t keep coming out here for this sort of thing.”

“Good,” Paige says firmly. “Maybe it will free you up to do your real job and find out who killed my son.” Hernandez stands.

“Again, you know we aren’t the detectives on the—” But before Hernandez can finish, Paige interrupts, not wanting to hear the excuses.

“And maybe go charge the idiot kid for trying to kill my dog. How about that?”

Paige stands and goes inside, not waiting for a response. She hears them mumble something to one another and make their way out. She can’t restrain herself or force herself to be kind. She used to be kind, but now, it’s as though her brain has been rewired. Defensiveness inhabits the place where empathy used to live. The uniforms of the cops trigger her, too; it reminds her of that night, the red, flashing lights a nightmarish strobe from a movie scene. A horror movie, not real life. It can’t be her real life. She still can’t accept that.

The uniforms spoke, saying condescending things, pulling her away, calling her ma’am, and asking stupid questions. Now, when she sees them, it brings up regrets. She doesn’t know why this happens, but the uniforms bring her back to that night, and it makes her long for the chance to do all the things she never did with Caleb and mourn over the times they did have. It forces fragments of memories to materialize, like when he was six, he wanted a My Little Pony named Star Prancer. It was pink with purple flowers in its mane, and she didn’t let him have it because she thought she was protecting him from being made fun of at school. Now, the memory fills her with self-reproach.

She tries not to think about the time she fell asleep on the couch watching Rugrats with him when he was just a toddler and woke up to his screaming because he’d fallen off the couch and hit his head on the coffee table. He was okay, but it could have been worse. He could have put his finger in an outlet, pushed on the window screen and fallen to his death from the second floor, drunk the bleach under the sink! When this memory comes, she has to quickly stand up and busy herself, push out a heavy breath, and shake off the shame it brings. He could have died from her negligence that afternoon. She never told Grant. She told Cora once, who said every parent has a moment like that, it’s life. People fall asleep. But Paige has never forgiven herself. She loved Caleb more than life, and now the doubt and little moments of regret push into her thoughts and render her miserable and anxious all the time.

She didn’t stay home like Cora, she practically lived at the restaurant. She ran it for years. Caleb grew up doing his homework in the kitchen break room and helping wipe down tables and hand out menus. He seemed to love it. He didn’t watch TV all afternoon after school, he talked to new people, learned skills. But did she only tell herself that to alleviate the guilt? Would he have thrived more if he had had a more nor mal day-to-day? When he clung to her leg that first day of preschool, should she have forced him to go? Should he have let him change his college major so many times? Had he been happy? Had she done right by him?

And why was there a gun at the scene? Was he in trouble, and she didn’t know? Did he have friends she didn’t know about? He’d told her everything, she thought. They were close. Weren’t they?

As she approaches the kitchen window to put her mug down, she sees Grant pulling up outside. She can see him shaking his head at the sight of the cops before he even gets out of the car.

He doesn’t mention the police when he comes in. He silently pours himself a cup of coffee and finds Paige back out in the garden, where she has scurried to upon seeing him. He hands her a copy of the Times after removing the crossword puzzle for himself and then peers at it over his glasses.

He doesn’t speak until Christopher comes to greet him, and then he says, “Who wants a pocket cookie?” and takes a small dog biscuit from his shirt pocket and smiles down at little Christopher, who devours it.

This is how it’s been for the many months since Grant and Paige suffered insurmountable loss. It might be possible to get through it to the other side, but maybe not together, Paige said to Grant one night after one of many arguments about how they should cope. Grant wanted to sit in his old, leather recliner in the downstairs family room and stare into the wood-burning fireplace, Christopher at his feet, drinking a scotch and absorbing the quiet and stillness.

Paige, on the other hand, wanted to scream at everyone she met. She wanted to abuse the police for not finding who was responsible for the hit-and-run. She wanted to spend her days posting flyers offering a reward to anyone with information, even though she knew only eight percent of hit-and-runs are ever solved. When the world didn’t respond the way she needed, she stopped helping run the small restaurant they owned so she could just hole up at home and shout at Jeopardy! and paper boys. She needed to take up space and be loud. They each couldn’t stand how the other was mourning, so finally, Grant moved into the small apartment above their little Italian place, Moretti’s, and gave Paige the space she needed to take up.

Now—almost a year since the tragic day—Grant still comes over every Sunday to make sure the take-out boxes are picked up and the trash is taken out, that she’s taking care of herself and the house isn’t falling apart. And to kiss her on the cheek before he leaves and tell her he loves her. He doesn’t make observations or suggestions, just benign comments about the recent news headlines or the new baked mostaccioli special at the restaurant.

She sees him spot the pair of binoculars on the small table next to her Adirondack chair. She doesn’t need to lie and say she’s bird-watching or some nonsense. He knows she thinks one of the neighbors killed her son. She’s sure of it. It’s a gated community, and very few people come in and out who don’t live here. Especially that late at night. The entrance camera was conveniently disabled that night, so that makes her think it wasn’t an accident but planned. There was a gun next to Caleb’s body, but it wasn’t fired, and there was no gunshot wound. Something was very wrong with this scenario, and if the po-lice won’t prove homicide, she’s going to uncover which of her bastard neighbors had a motive.

She has repeated all of this to Grant a thousand times, and he used to implore her to try to focus on work or take a vacation—anything but obsess—and to warn her that she was destroying her health and their relationship, but he stopped responding to this sort of conspiracy-theory talk months ago.

“What’s the latest?” is all he asks, looking away from the binoculars and back to his crossword. She gives a dismissive wave of her hand, a sort of I know you don’t really want to hear about it gesture. Then, after a few moments, she says, “Danny Howell at 6758. He hasn’t driven his Mercedes in months.” She gives Grant a triumphant look, but he doesn’t appear to be following.

“Okay,” he says, filling in the word ostrich.

“So I broke into his garage to see what the deal was, and there’s a dent in his bumper.”

“You broke in?” he asks, concerned. She knows the How-ells have five vehicles, and the dent could be from a myriad of causes over the last year, but she won’t let it go.

“Yes, and it’s a good thing I did. I’m gonna go back and take photos. See if the police can tell if it looks like he might have hit a person.” She knows there is a sad desperation in her voice as she works herself up. “You think they can tell that? Like if the dent were a pole from a drive-through, they could see paint or the scratches or something, right? I bet they can tell.”

“It’s worth a shot,” he says, and she knows what he wants to say, also knows he won’t waste words telling her not to break into the garage a second time for photos. He changes the subject.

“I’m looking for someone to help out at the restaurant a few days a week—mostly just a piano player for the dinner crowd—but I could use a little bookkeeping and scheduling, too,” he says, and Paige knows it’s a soft attempt to distract her, but she doesn’t bite.

“Oh, well, good luck. I hope you find someone,” she says, and they stare off into the backyard trees.

“The ivy is looking robust,” he comments after a few minutes of silence.

“You think it’s hurting the foundation?” she asks.

“Nah,” he says, and he reaches over and places his hand over hers on the arm of her chair for a few moments before getting up to go. On his way out, he kisses her on the cheek, tells her he loves her. Then he loads the dishwasher and takes out the trash before heading to his car. She watches him reluctantly leaving, knowing that he wishes he could stay, that things were different.

When Paige hears the sound of Grant’s motor fade as he turns out of the front gate, she imagines herself calling him on his cell and telling him to come back and pick her up, that she’ll come to Moretti’s with him and do all the scheduling and books, that she’ll learn to play the piano just so she can make him happy. And, after all the patrons leave for the night, they’ll share bottles of Chianti on checkered tablecloths in a dimly lit back booth. They’ll eat linguini and clams and have a Lady and the Tramp moment, and they will be happy again.

Paige does not do this. She goes into the living room and closes the drapes Grant opened, blocking out the sunlight, then she crawls under a bunched-up duvet on the couch that smells like sour milk, and she begs for sleep.

Excerpted from On A Quiet Street by Seraphina Nova Glass, Copyright © 2022 by Seraphina Nova Glass. Published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A.

Please also enjoy my YouTube video review - 



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Seraphina Nova Glass
is a professor and playwright-in-residence at the University of Texas, Arlington, where she teaches film studies and playwriting. She holds an MFA in playwriting from Smith College, and she's also a screenwriter and award-winning playwright. Seraphina has traveled the world using theatre and film as a teaching tool, living in South Africa, Guam and Kenya as a volunteer teacher, AIDS relief worker, and documentary filmmaker.

BLOG TOUR - The Love List

THE LOVE LIST by Elana Johnson is out now! Check out the gorgeous second chance summer romance and get your copy of the series today!


     

Get Your Copy!

Catching Up with the Series:

The Paradise Plan

The Seaside Strategy

 

 Title: The Love List

Author: Elana Johnson

Genre: Beach Romance


About The Love List:

Beatrice Callahan loves lists. Sometimes she even makes a to-do list of things she's already done, just to go check, check, check and feel accomplished. So it's easy to understand why, when her divorce is finally final and her ex is all moved out, Bea takes a cool, close look at her life...and makes a list. 

It's not exactly a bucket list. 

It's a love list. 

Bea loves the outdoors, so she puts visit 10 National Parks on the list. 

She loves animals, and on goes get a puppy. 

She loves the beach, and she adds take a dream vacation to the list, and decides to do that one first. After all she's been through and all she's lost, she needs time to relax, rest, and reset. 

On the first day she arrives in Hilton Head Island, she meets Grant Turner, the man whose house she's renting for her fabulous beach vacation. He's just there to make sure she settles in properly and has enough towels. 

But when Bea asks for recommendations around the island, Grant quickly becomes her tour guide and then a friend and then...more than friends. 

Bea turns to her lists when things get confusing and her love list morphs once again... Can she add fall in love at age 45 to the list and check it off? 

MY THOUGHTS:
 
Title:   The Love List
Author:  Elana Johnson
Series:  Hilton Head Island #1
Publisher:  AEJ Creative Works
Genre:   Romance
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   268
Date of Publication:   May 17, 2022
My Rating:   5 Stars

Bea is newly divorced with three adult children. She creates a bucket list, which she quickly renames as a love list. This love list is for all the things she wants to do with her life.

Things are not going to be easy, but Bea has a fabulous attitude about all the changes she plans on making in her life. More than the wonderful friends she has in her life, friends who are the ride or die type, Bea finds that she has a second chance at love when it comes to Grant. He is a wonderful man and the time he and Bea spend together are full of warm moments and a connection neither is able to deny.

All of the characters in this book are marvelous. Obviously we have Bea and Grant, but some of her dear friends, Lauren, Joy, Sage and other wonderful women whom epitomize the true meaning of friendship. 

What an uplifting book for these perilous times that we live in. What I loved most about Bea is that in one way she reminds me of myself - she has a glass half full attitude and that makes her utterly loveable as well as relatable.

Many thanks to AEJ Creative Works and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.

Please also enjoy this YouTube video review - 



About the Author:

A USA Today Bestselling and Amazon Kindle All-Star Author, Elana writes clean and wholesome contemporary romance. She is well-known for her young adult dystopian romance series Possession, Surrender, Abandon, and Regret, published by Simon Pulse (Simon & Schuster). She writes clean beach romance in the 
Hawthorne Harbor Second Chance Romance seriesthe Getaway Bay Romance series, the Getaway Bay Resort Romance series,the Forbidden Lake Romance seriesthe Stranded in Paradise Romance seriesthe Hope Eternal Ranch Romance seriesthe Sweet Water Falls Farm Romance series, and the Carter's Cove Romance series.   

Elana also writes inspirational western romances under the USA Today bestselling pen name of Liz Isaacson. Learn more at Liz's website.   

Elana is the force behind Indie Inspiration, and you can find her books for writers, Writing and Releasing Rapidly and Writing Killer Cover Copy among others, and join her group and page on Facebook.   

She runs a personal blog on publishing and is a founding author of the QueryTracker blog, a co-founder of The League of Extraordinary Writers, and a co-organizer of WriteOnCon. She is a member of ALLi and NINC and a popular speaker for libraries, teens, and writer's conferences across the United States. To contact Elana to speak at your event, please see her contact page.  

Connect with the Author:

Website | Facebook | Instagram | 

Goodreads | TikTok | Bookbub | Gmail




BLOG TOUR - Beach House Summer

DESCRIPTION:

USA Today bestselling author Sarah Morgan returns with the ultimate beach read, as one woman forges the most unlikely friendship of all, and embarks on a summer of confrotning her past in order to build the future she wants...

When Joanna Whitman's ex-husband, one of California's most beloved celebrity chefs, dies in a car accident, she doesn't know what to feel. Their dysfunctional marriage held more secrets than she cares to remember, but when she discovers a young woman was with him in the crash--who's now in hospital, on her own, and pregnant --Joanna sees red. How dare he ruin yet another woman's life? More than anyone, Joanna knows the brutal spotlight this girl is going to find herself in...unless she can find a way for them both to disappear?


Ashley can't believe it when Joanna shows up in her hospital room and offers to spirit them both away for the summer to her secluded beach house on the Californian coast. Joanna should be hating her, not helping her. But orphaned and pregnant, Ashley can't turn Joanna down. Even though she knows that if Joanna ever discovers the real truth of why Ashley was in her ex's car, their tentative bond would never hold.


Together, they escape to the beach house, nestled high above the sleepy Californian town where Joanna grew up, and left without a backward glance. Joanna's only goal for the summer is privacy, but her return creates waves in the community, not least for the best friend she left behind. Both Joanna and Ashley are hiding secrets, but as they fall under the spell of their summer home - and draw on each other's courage - these unlikely friends realise that to seize the futures they want, they must step out of the shadows and into the sunshine


BUY LINKS:

MY THOUGHTS:
 
Title:   Beach House Summer
Author:  Sarah Morgan
Publisher:  HQN Books
Genre:   Women's Fiction
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   387
Date of Publication:   May 17, 2022
My Rating:   5 Stars

Joanna Whitman's ex husband Cliff is dead. He was a celebrity chef and his car went off a cliff. The paparazzi wastes no time and immediately start hounding her. She knows she must get away and plans on avoiding them at all cost. However, her husband was not alone when he died. A young woman named Ashley was in the car with him. While hospitalized, blessedly, ten-weeks pregnant, Ashley is unharmed. She is all alone and sees her face plastered all over the news since she was in the car. 

Joanna decides to visit Ashley and offers her an escape from the public eye. She is planning to head to Otter's Nest at the beach and offers Ashley the opportunity to go with her. Since  Ashley is pregnant and alone, she agrees. Joanna is helping her, but she is not sure why.

Joanna not only finds a strong community more than willing to back her while at her summer escape, old flame Nate just might give her a love she never expected to find again.

What a wonderful story! I love a book when you think you know a character and expect a story to go a certain way, only to find the story take a shift in an entirely different direction, drawing you even closer to the characters than ever expected.

Beach House Summer is the perfect beach read. A warm story with relatable characters that illustrated love, family and growth. The healing that was in this book truly warmed my heart. 

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

Please enjoy the following excerpt:
one

ASHLEY

She slid into his car, hoping this wasn’t a mistake. It hadn’t been her first choice of plan, but the others had failed and she was desperate.

He smiled at her, and there was so much charm in that smile that she forgot everything around her. The way he looked at her made her feel as if she was the only woman in the world.

To add to the charm he had the car, a high-performance convertible, low, sleek and expensive. It shrieked, Look at me, in case the other trappings of wealth and power hadn’t already drawn your attention.

Her mother would have warned her not to get in the car with him, but her mother was gone now and Ashley was making the best decisions she could with no one close to offer her advice or caution. She remembered the first time she’d ridden a bike on her own, unsteady, unbalanced, hands sweating on the handlebars, her mother shouting, Keep pedaling! She remembered her first swimming lesson where she’d slid under the surface and gulped down so much water she’d thought she was going to empty the pool. She’d been sure she was going to drown but then she felt hands lifting her to the surface and a voice cutting through water clogged ears: Keep kicking!

She was on her own now. There was no one to tug her to the surface if she was drowning. No one to steady the wheels of her bike when she wobbled. Her mother had been the safety net in her life and they’d grown even closer after her father died. But now if she fell she’d hit the ground with nothing and no one to cushion her fall.

He turned onto Mulholland Drive and picked up speed. The engine gave a throaty roar and the wind played with her hair as they sped upward through the Hollywood Hills. She’d never been in a car like this before. Never met a man like him.

They climbed higher and higher, passing luxury mansions, catching glimpses of a lifestyle beyond the reach of even her imagination. Envy slid through her. Did problems go away when you had so much? Did the people living here experience the same anxieties as normal people or did those high walls and security cameras insulate them from life? Could you buy happiness?

No, but money could make life easier, which was why she was here.

Spread beneath them were views of downtown, Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley.

Stay focused.

“I know the best place to see the sunset.” His warm, deep voice had helped propel him from yet another TV personality to a megastar. “You’re never going to forget it.”

She was sure of it. This moment was significant for so many reasons.

What would happen to that confidence when she told him her news?

Nausea rolled in her stomach and she was relieved she’d been unable to eat breakfast or lunch.

“You’re quiet.” He drove with one hand on the wheel, supremely confident. One hand, his eyes mostly on her. She wanted to tell him to keep his attention on the road.

“I’m a little nervous.”

“Are you intimidated? Don’t be. I’m just a normal, regular guy.”

Yeah, right.

He was driving fast now, enjoying the car, the moment, his life. She knew that was about to change. She’d rehearsed a speech. Practiced a hundred times in front of the mirror.

I’ve got something to tell you.

“Could you slow down?”

“You prefer slow?” His hand caressed the wheel. “I can go slow when I need to. What did you say your name was?”

He didn’t recognize her. He didn’t have a clue who she was. How could he not know?

She sat rigid in her seat. Was she really that forgettable and unimportant?

In this part of town, where everyone was someone, she was no one.

She fought the disillusion and the humiliation.

“I’m Mandy. I’m from Connecticut.”

Her name wasn’t Mandy. She’d never been to Connecticut. Couldn’t even put it on a map.

He should know that. She wanted him to know that. She wanted him to say, I know you’re not Mandy, but he didn’t, of course, because women came and went from his life and he was already moving on to the next one.

“And you’re sure we’ve met before? I wouldn’t have forgotten someone as pretty as you.”

She’d had dreams about him. Fantasies. She’d thought about him day and night for the past couple of months, ever since she’d first laid eyes on him.

But he didn’t know her. There was no recognition.

Her eyes stung. She told herself it was the wind in her face because her mother had drummed into her that life was too short to cry over a man. She wouldn’t be here at all except that she’d felt alone and scared and needed to do something to help herself. She was afraid she couldn’t do this on her own, and he had to take some responsibility, surely? He shouldn’t be allowed to just walk away. That wasn’t right. Like it or not, they were bonded.

“We’ve met.” She rested her hand on her abdomen. Blinked away the tears. The time to wish she’d been more careful was long gone. She had to look forward. Had to do the right thing, but it wasn’t easy.

Her body told her she was an adult, but inside she still felt like the child who had wobbled on that bike with her ponytail flying.

He glanced at her again, curious. “Now I think about it, you do look familiar. Can’t place you, though. Don’t be offended.” He gave her another flash of those perfect white teeth. “I meet a lot of women.”

She knew that. She knew his reputation, and yet still she was here. What did that say about her? She should have more pride, but pride and desperation didn’t fit comfortably together.

“I’m not offended.” Under the fear she was furious. And fiercely determined.

She wasn’t going to let this guy ruin her life. That wasn’t going to happen.

They were climbing now. Climbing, climbing, the road winding upward into the hills while the city lay beneath them like a glittering carpet. She felt like Peter Pan, flying over rooftops.

Should she tell him now? Was this a good moment?

Her heart started to pound, heavy beats thudding a warning against her ribs. She hadn’t thought he’d bring her somewhere this remote. She shouldn’t have climbed into his car. Another bad decision to add to the ones she’d already made. The longer she waited to tell him, the farther they were from civilization and people. People who could help her. But who would help? Who was there?

She had no one. Just herself, which was why she was here now, doing what needed to be done regardless of the consequences.

Thinking of consequences made her palms grow damp. She should do it right now, while half his attention was on the road.

She waited as he waltzed the car around another bend and hit another straight stretch of road. She could already see the next bend up ahead.

“Mr. Whitman? Cliff? There’s something I need to tell you.”

Excerpted from Beach House Summer by Sarah Morgan. Copyright © 2022 by Sarah Morgan. Published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A.

Please also enjoy my YouTube video review - 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Sarah Morgan is a USA Today and Sunday Times bestselling author of contemporary romance and women's fiction. She has sold more than 21 million copies of her books and her trademark humour and warmth have gained her fans across the globe. Sarah lives with her family near London, England, where the rain frequently keeps her trapped in her office. Visit her at www.sarahmorgan.com

Social Links:

Author Website

Twitter: @SarahMorgan_

Facebook: Sarah Morgan

Instagram: @sarahmorganwrites

Goodreads


Thursday, May 19, 2022

BLOG TOUR - Mystery at Lovelace Manor

 


DESCRIPTION:

Lovelace Manor has a famous past… but when a historian becomes history at its annual open day, amateur sleuth Eve Mallow is on the case!

Everyone in Saxford St Peter flocks to Lovelace Sunday, the festival celebrating the romantic history of beautiful Lovelace Manor. This year will be even more exciting, as famous TV historian 
Cammie Harington is planning a spectacular stunt with a hot-air balloon for her new show.

Eve Mallow jumps at the chance to volunteer – it’s a great people-watching opportunity. But she soon realises there is no love lost between Cammie and the family who owns the manor… so why did Cammie agree to come?

When Cammie’s hot-air balloon tumbles from the sky, Eve feels sure this is no accident. Alongside dachshund Gus, she sets to work investigating the mystery, piecing together all the odd things she’s seen and heard.

Could the killer be discreet Diana, lady of the manor, who fell out with Cammie years ago? Or Diana’s dashing brother Sebastian, whose dark secret Cammie knew? Why was the loyal gardener following Cammie around? And had Cammie uncovered something explosive about the manor’s past, as she claimed?

When someone breaks into Cammie’s cottage and a priceless Lovelace heirloom goes missing, Eve is sure she’s on the right track… but can she solve the case, 
before the killer brings her crashing down?

A completely gripping English cozy mystery, perfect for fans of Frances Evesham, J.R. Ellis and Betty Rowlands.




MY THOUGHTS:
 
Title:   Mystery at Lovelace Manor
Author:  Clare Chase
Series:  Eve Mallow #8
Publisher:  Bookouture 
Genre:   Cozy Mystery 
Format:  Kindke ARC
No. of Pages:   293
Date of Publication:   May 17, 2022
My Rating:   5 Stars 

Eve Mallow is happy to volunteer at a celebration at Lovelace Manor. A planned hot-air balloon stunt has everyone excited - until the television historian that would be in the air balloon falls to her death. Her name was Cammie Harungrm and Eve is sure that this was no accident. With plenty of suspects, Eve is interested in more than writing the obituary for the victim, sh8s to find the killer herself.

As a well-respected obituary writer, Eve easily has the opportunity to talk to the many people that knew the victims as a basis for background information for the article, but Eve goes much further. Eve turns over clues left and right in order to get closer to identifying the killer. Per normal whenever it comes to Eve solving a murder, there are no shortage of suspects, but the closer she gets, the more danger she finds herself in.

Eve is not in this alone. She has Robin, police officer turned gardener, although their relationship is secret due to an occurrence from his previous career. Then there is Gus, her faithful dachshund. With more than a few surprises, a gorgeous setting, even pacing and Eve's delightful introspection, this book definitely kept me guessing, and this made it a real page-turner. I love the fact that I was not able to identify the killer myself, thus this book came to an exciting conclusion. Clare Chase has written another winner with this eighth book in this thoroughly engaging cozy mystery series, and I am sure the next book will be just as enjoyable. 

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


Please also enjoy my YouTube video review - 



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Clare Chase writes classic mysteries. Her aim is to take readers away from it all via some armchair sleuthing in atmospheric locations.

Her debut novel was shortlisted for Novelicious’s Undiscovered Award, as well as an EPIC award post-publication, and was chosen as a Debut of the Month by LoveReading. Murder on the Marshes (Tara Thorpe 1) was shortlisted for an International Thriller Writers award.

Like her heroines, Clare is fascinated by people and what makes them tick. Before becoming a full-time writer, she worked in settings as diverse as Littlehey Prison and the University of Cambridge, in her home city. She’s lived everywhere from the house of a lord to a slug-infested flat and finds the mid-terrace she currently occupies a good happy medium.

As well as writing, Clare loves family time, art and architecture, cooking, and of course, reading other people’s books.

You can find Clare's website and blog at www.clarechase.com

Social Media
Website: www.clarechase.com 
Bookouture email signup: https://www.bookouture.com/clare-chase