I am delighted to join the holiday blog tour for Good Girls Lie by J. T. Ellison today! My thanks to Harlequin Publishing for the invitation to join. I was gifted a copy of Good Girls Lie to read in exchange for my honest review.
Perched atop a hill in the tiny town of Marchburg, Virginia, The Goode School is a prestigious prep school known as a Silent Ivy. The boarding school of choice for daughters of the rich and influential, it accepts only the best and the brightest. Its elite status, long-held traditions and honor code are ideal for preparing exceptional young women for brilliant futures at Ivy League universities and beyond. But a stranger has come to Goode, and this ivy has turned poisonous.
In a world where appearances are everything, as long as students pretend to follow the rules, no one questions the cruelties of the secret societies or the dubious behavior of the privileged young women who expect to get away with murder. But when a popular student is found dead, the truth cannot be ignored. Rumors suggest she was struggling with a secret that drove her to suicide.
But look closely…because there are truths and there are lies, and then there is everything that really happened.
J.T. Ellison’s pulse-pounding new novel examines the tenuous bonds of friendship, the power of lies and the desperate lengths people will go to to protect their secrets.
This psychological thriller by J. T. Ellison is not short on surprises, as well as having more than its fair share of suspense and tension!
In Good Girls Lie, my second foray into the depths of J. T. Ellison’s explosive writing, the author uses an effective style of storytelling to unveil the narrative. Told from multiple viewpoints and with a whirlwind speed, pivotal anecdotes about the leading characters are revealed.
The narrative delves into the psyche of Ash Carr, who the reader learns, is a tortured young woman having witnessed the death of both of her parents and is now on a scholarship at the elite Goode Academy where each girl is almost certainly guaranteed a place. Set in Marchburg, Virginia, secret societies exist enabling the girls to bond, though what lies beneath the surface is a nightmare of bullying as the hierarchy of students is clear from the outset. Dean Ford Julianne Westhaven turns a blind eye as she believes she is keeping old traditions alive.
Ghost stories of murders, eerie passageways, locked hallways, and a deadly staircase all have their place, giving the school a really creepy vibe.
Good Girls Lie will delight if you like your thrillers menacing and fast-paced. This was a fabulous, dramatic and twisty story, and I can’t wait to see what J. T. Ellison does next!
Thanks to NetGalley, Harlequin - MIRA and the author, J. T. Ellison for the complimentary copy. This is my honest and totally voluntary review.
Meet the Author:
J.T. Ellison is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than 20 novels, and the EMMY-award winning co-host of A WORD ON WORDS, Nashville’s premier literary show. With millions of books in print, her work has won critical acclaim, prestigious awards, and has been published in 26 countries. Ellison lives in Nashville with her husband and twin kittens. Connect with J. T. on her Website//Facebook//Twitter//Instagram
From Cleo Coyle, the New York Times bestselling author of Shot in the Dark and Dead Cold Brew, comes a delicious new entry in the “fun and gripping” (The Huffington Post) Coffeehouse Mysteries.
When coffeehouse manager Clare Cosi awakens on a bench in Washington Square Park, she has no idea she’s been missing for the past week, or that her friends and family have been frantic with worry. Now that she’s back, everyone is overjoyed, including a handsome NYPD detective who claims to be her fiancé. But to Mike Quinn’s crushing distress, Clare doesn’t remember him, or much of anything about the last decade of her life.
Clare’s missing memory is tied to a crime she witnessed. An acquaintance of Clare’s elegant employer–and fellow member of an exclusive Gotham circle known as “The Ladies Who Brunch”–invited Clare to her posh hotel to sample gourmet wedding cakes. The pair took a stroll after their indulgent tasting and, according to security camera footage, a masked figure snatched the hotel heiress at gunpoint with Clare looking on. Did the kidnapper take Clare, too? The camera went dark, just like Clare’s memory. Soon authorities grow suspicious. Is Clare really a victim? Or merely acting like one? Evidence is mounting that she set the woman up.
To clear her name, Clare must find a way to reclaim her memories and rescue the heiress before this high-stakes crime ends in tragedy. Otherwise, instead of walking down the aisle, Clare may find herself perp-walking to prison as an accomplice to kidnapping and murder.
This is the first book I have read in this mystery series and I was happy to dive straight in. I can’t believe this is the 18th book in a wonderful series and I’ve never come across it before now. Cleo Coyle did an excellent job of making this story fresh and new while giving me plenty of detail to be able to jump right in even at this late stage. I was sold from the very beginning, with its solid characters, great writing and a marvellous mystery that provided a good sprinkling of clues to satisfy even the most painstaking and diligent armchair detective.
In this instalment, expert sleuth Clare is suffering from memory loss and everyone believes this is due to a tragic event. She had been meeting with hotel heiress/owner, Annette Brewster, to taste wedding cakes. After the tasting, both women disappeared. While Clare has been found, Annette is still missing …. But Clare’s missing memory is tied to a crime she witnessed. As evidence mounts that she set the woman up, is Clare really a victim or merely acting like one?
The author, Cleo Coyle, has drawn a lot of great characters in this fabulous cozy mystery. I particularly liked the coffeehouse manager Clare Cosi who worked in Village Blend, the local landmark coffeeshop. Other characters – her detective fiance and her ex-husband – all have their own personalities and add to the richness of the plot. This series is like a coffeeshop that serves a fabulous cup of white chocolate mocha latte …. I will keep coming back now that I have discovered it!
There was a large number of characters in Brewed Awakening but I think I just about managed to keep track of all of them without being overwhelmed! Apart from Clare herself who is suffering from memory loss, from the elegant Madame and the caring and inventive Mike Quinn, her fiance, to conniving ex-husband Matteo Allegro, there’s someone for everyone to relate to.
The Village Blend and New York City are a spectacular setting for the story. The author’s descriptions create a visual masterpiece for readers to enjoy. I could smell the coffee, the rich blends, along with delicious baked treats too. However, whilst the Village Blend makes for a superb backdrop, I liked that that the mystery and keeping Clare safe took me on something of a journey, to New York and New Jersey, and further up the coast.
Another of my favourite aspects of this novel was the transparency and fluidity of the writing. The details of the plot were very well executed and every chapter left me with a compelling need to read on. The author did a brilliant job of balancing the story-line and various events jumbled matters up somewhat, making figuring out the identity of the perpetrator more challenging.
With no disappointments, wonderful characters, an intriguing mystery, and just the right blend of humour and romance, this was such an entertaining story with many exciting moments. I am looking forward to returning to the Village Blend with Clare on a future occasion and reading the earlier books in the series, too! I’ve already bagged two books in the series for those evenings when I feel like a little brain candy.
Cleo Coyle is the pen name for writer duo Alice Alfonsi and Marc Cerasini. They also write the Haunted Bookshop cozy series under the name AliceKimberly.
So entertaining and engaging, Brewed Awakening is definitely well worth the time invested.
I received a complimentary copy of this novel through GreatEscapes Book Tours at my request. This review is my unbiased opinion.
Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Five Stars
About Cleo Coyle
CLEO COYLE is the pseudonym for Alice Alfonsi, writing in collaboration with her husband, Marc Cerasini. CLEO COYLE grew up in a small town near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After earning scholarships to study writing at Carnegie Mellon and American Universities, she began her career as a cub reporter for The New York Times. Now an author of popular fiction and New York Times bestselling media tie-in writer, Cleo lives and works in New York City, where she collaborates with her husband (also a bestselling author) to pen the Coffeehouse Mysteries for Penguin. Together Cleo and her husband also write the Haunted Bookshop Mysteries under the name Alice Kimberly. When not haunting coffeehouses, hunting ghosts, or rescuing stray cats, Cleo and Marc are bestselling media tie-in writers who have penned properties for NBC, Lucasfilm, Disney, Fox, Imagine, and MGM. In their spare time, they cook like crazy and drink a lot of java. You can learn more about Cleo, her husband, and the books they write by visiting www.CoffeehouseMystery.com.
I am delighted to join the holiday blog tour for Christmas from the Heart by Sheila Roberts today! My thanks to Harlequin Publishing for the invitation to join. I was gifted a copy of Christmas from the Heart to read in exchange for my honest review.
Book Info and Rating
Paperback, 304 pages
Published September 24th 2019 by Mira Books
ISBN 0778309614 (ISBN13: 9780778309611)
Rating: 5 stars
Genre: holiday, romance, contemporary fiction
USA TODAY bestselling author Sheila Roberts takes readers to the charming, snowbound town of Pine River in this irresistible holiday romance.
Sometimes you need to look beyond the big picture to see what really matters
Olivia Berg’s charity, Christmas from the Heart, has helped generations of families in need in Pine River, Washington, but this year might be the end of the road. Hightower Enterprises, one of their biggest donors since way back when Olivia’s grandmother ran the charity, has been taken over by Ebenezer Scrooge the Second, aka CFO Guy Hightower, and he’s declared there will be no more money coming to Christmas from the Heart.
Guy is simply being practical. Hightower Enterprises needs to tighten its belt, and when you don’t have money to spare, you don’t have money to share. You’d think even the pushy Olivia Berg could understand that.
With charitable donations dwindling, Olivia’s Christmas budget depends on Hightower’s contribution. She’s focused her whole life on helping this small town, even putting her love life on hold to support her mission.
When Guy’s Maserati breaks down at the edge of the Cascade foothills, he’s relieved to be rescued by a pretty young woman who drives him to the nearby town of Pine River. Until he realizes his rescuer is none other than Olivia Berg. What’s a Scrooge to do? Plug his nose and eat fruitcake and hope she doesn’t learn his true identity before he can get out of town. What could go wrong?
Are you looking for a fantastic Christmas novel to read this festive season? Well, look no further because this is it! What a lovely and exciting book this was and a perfect and refreshing change from my usual, favourite genres. I love a fun and wonderful Yuletide story to put me in a festive mood, and Sheila Roberts' new book, 'Christmas from the Heart' does just that.
Olivia (Livi) Berg is head of a not-for-profit organisation called Christmas from the Heart. She works all year with only a token salary, trying to raise money to make the holidays a little merrier for the community of Pine River that are in dire straits. Livi counts on the large corporate donations, and one of the more generous companies is Hightower Enterprises, but this year they have opted not offer a contribution to Livi, as they have already given to other charities and nonprofits. Furthermore, Guy Hightower, the new CFO of his family's business, has declared there will be no more money coming to Christmas from the Heart as Hightower Enterprises needs to tighten its belt. After all, Guy is simply being practical. But this creates limitations on what Livi is able do for those in need this year, so Guy becomes something of an enemy.
When Guy finds himself stranded in Pine River after his flashy Maserati breaks down, a cute young woman stops to help him — Livi — not realising it is Guy. For his part, Guy gives her a false name — Joe Ford, so as to not get under her skin. And then the fun begins!
This was a well-paced and very touching romance that had me hooked, even before I had reached the second page. I adored Sheila Roberts' luscious blend of a small-town community - Pine River, a generous-hearted young woman, a Scrooge-like Corporate rich fella, and a besotted country lad. Brimming with romance, conflict, jealousy, and my favourite — humour, and set in a small town where everyone has their noses in each other's business, I couldn't fail to enjoy this book!
Another hit by author Sheila Roberts, I thoroughly enjoyed Christmas from the Heart, and I know you will too. I eagerly wait to see what Sheila Roberts is going to be releasing next.
Thanks to NetGalley, Harlequin - MIRA and the author, Sheila Roberts for the complimentary copy. This is my honest and totally voluntary review.
Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Five Stars
🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤
Meet the Author:
Sheila Roberts lives on a lake in the Pacific Northwest. Her novels have been published in several languages. Her book, Angel Lane, was an Amazon Top Ten Romance pick for 2009. Her holiday perennial, On Strike for Christmas, was made into a movie for the Lifetime Movie Network and her novel, The Nine Lives of Christmas, was made into a movie for Hallmark . You can visit Sheila on Twitter and Facebook or at her website (http://www.sheilasplace.com). Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads | Instagram
The library can save your life… can it kill you, too?
JJ has a new job at the library, which ought to make her happy. But with all those books to shelve, the PTA to run, and a 16-year-old son to raise, there’s never enough time to spend with her sweetheart, police chief Ron Karlson. That’s especially true with Thanksgiving on the horizon and her mother coming to visit, not to mention the PTA’s Holiday Bazaar looming ahead.
When things turn deadly in the library stacks, JJ needs some answers fast, before she loses her job—or her life. She’s determined to learn everything about the victim, and for once the library doesn’t hold all the answers. JJ and Kitty may have to face the ultimate peril: a visit to Mrs. Halsey, the oldest—and crankiest—person on the island.
Book four in this cozy serial by Rebecca M. Douglass is not short on surprises, with JJ McGregor and the Pismawallops PTA back in action!
Set on Pismawallops Island, one of the many picturesque islands that make up the Puget Sound in Washington State, forty-two-year old JJ has a part-time job as a library page – a general dogsbody who sorts and shelves books. Vice president of Orcaville High school PTA, JJ is also halfway through writing a murder mystery. Hard-up, and newly divorced, JJ is kept extremely busy with her new job, a sixteen-year-old son, Brian, and a budding relationship with her new sweetheart, hunky police chief Ron Karlson. With Thanksgiving on the horizon and her mother coming to visit, she also has the PTA’s Holiday Bazaar looming.
The PTA must exert itself post-haste when a crotchety member of the school board, Bud Fingal, threatens plans to build a much-needed swimming pool on Pismawallops island. Investigative reporter, Jolene Smethers, who writes for the ‘Weekly Wave’ is also opposed to the building of the pool, as the land on which it’s proposed to be constructed belongs to her family, and not to the board president, Bud Fingal, who donated it to the Orcaville High school district. It seems that Fingal’s grandfather stole it from Jolene’s Great-Grandma dating back to the 1920’s, and if the school district wants the land then they should purchase it from Jolene’s Grandma.
Following a stormy night, Fingal and Jolene are seen arguing outside the library. Then, just before Thanksgiving, while the library is full, there is a mini earthquake and a body is found in the mele and wreckage of broken glass and misplaced books. The dead body, killed by falling tomes, is Jolene. But was it an accident as a result of the quake or was she murdered? And why do the intrepid two, JJ and Kitty, need to visit the foxy and feared Mrs Halsey, the most senior, crabbiest and most irascible inhabitant of the island?
Ron warns JJ off getting involved in the case however, the reader is taken on a thrilling journey whilst she and her best friend Kitty, another PTA volunteer, try to solve the mystery.
The story is told from JJ’s point of view, a feisty, brave, reckless, irrational, redhead with a temper to boot. She used to be married to Allen, likes running, and is in love with, and full of desire for solid, dependable and capable Ron. He wants to them to move in together, but JJ isn’t ready. She has a penchant for espresso brownies, but any brownie will do, especially when Ron is buying.
Rebecca’s writing style is punchy, sleek and enticing and I adored the glorious helping of saucy romance she artfully weaves into the story. The island is full of well-drawn and fully-rounded characters, and of course, all of them have a reason to loathe the victim. Even though there were so many, I managed not to feel overwhelmed! There was a huge list of potential suspects to choose from, to keep even the most ardent of armchair detectives entertained. I thoroughly enjoyed the author’s depiction of the close relationship between JJ and her only child, Brian, as well as her great friendship with Kitty. Rebecca M. Douglass’ portrayal of the gossipy, close-knit community of Pismawallops island was first-class and by the time I finished ‘Death By Library’, it was apparent that I’d underestimated how dark and dangerous the islands can be.
This was enthralling, classic whodunit with great dollops of humour thrown in and a fabulous finale. It was my first novel by this superb author, and I know it won’t be my last. I’m looking forward to reading the first book in this series ‘Death By Ice Cream’ as well as books two and three.
‘Death By Library’ brings no disappointments, is very highly recommended, and is well worth five stars!
I received a complimentary copy of this novel through Great Escapes Book Tours at my request. This review is my unbiased opinion.
Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Five Stars
About Rebecca M. Douglass
After a lifetime of reading, and a decade or more of slinging books at the library and herding cats with the PTA, Rebecca began to turn her experiences into books of her own, publishing her first in 2012. That failed to quiet the voices in her head, but seemed to entertain a number of readers, so she wrote some more, which generated still more voices. Despite the unlimited distractions provided by raising sons to the point of leaving home (and preparing to move without forwarding address if necessary to retain that empty nest), not to mention the mountains that keep calling (very hard to resist the urging of something the size of the Sierra Nevada), she has managed to pen a total of 9 books so far.
For those who enjoy murder and mayhem with a sense of humor, Rebecca’s Pismawallops PTA mysteries (Death By Ice Cream and Death By Trombone, Death By Adverb, and Death By Library) provide insights into what PTA moms are really like. If you prefer tall tales and even less of a grip on reality, visit Skunk Corners in The Ninja Librarian and the sequels Return to Skunk Corners and The Problem of Peggy. For those who’ve always thought that fantasy was a bit too high-minded, a stumble through rescues and escapes with Halitor the Hero, possibly the most hapless hero to ever run in fear from any and all fair maidens, should set you straight.
Why does Rebecca write so many different kinds of books (there’s even an alphabet picture book in the mix!)? We could argue that it’s because she has a rich lifetime of experience that requires expression in—squirrel!
I am delighted to join the blog tour for After You Fell Affair by J. S. Lark today! My thanks to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invitation to join. I was gifted a copy of After You Fell to read in exchange for my honest review.
Creepy, disturbing and genuinely thrilling, this is one page-turner you won’t be able to forget!
As one life ends
Louise’s Lovett’s death was a tragedy. But questions still swirl about exactly what happened to Louise that day. Did she fall…or was she pushed?
A new life starts
Helen Matthews’ donor heart saves her life. But as her new heart beats inside her, Helen feels the pull of its previous owner–despite what everyone is telling her, Helen is certain she has one final message to pass on.
And a dark obsession begins
As the lives of Helen and Louise become ever more entangled, Helen’s obsession gets increasingly out of control. And the fragile new life she has built begins to fall apart…
WOW! What a brilliant thriller!
Helen Matthews believes she has the ability to communicate with the dead, but her family and friends think otherwise, as she is also bipolar. Having been unwell all her life with a heart condition, she finally receives a donor heart that saves her life. Helen has always known she possesses psychic talents, being able to see the aura of others and to sense their spirit around her, but she has learnt not to share this knowledge with her nearest and dearest – particularly her brother, Simon and her best friend, Chloe. But what caused heart donor, Louise Lovett to fall from a car-park to her tragic death, and was it an accident… or was she pushed? As Helen feels the pull of its previous owner, she becomes increasingly obsessed with Louise and the family she left behind.
Compelling writing and continuous tension ensured that I was riveted to the story for the entirety of the book. Told from Helen’s perspective, I really appreciated the narrative and the vivid imagery Jane Lark conveyed. The pacing was comfortable, and the tension soon escalated to nail-biting, suspenseful levels. This was an absolute cracker of a thriller that held no disappointments. The author’s characterisation was superb, with an eclectic blend of fascinating characters, most of whom were unlikable, though this did not affect my enjoyment of the story.
After You Fell was a cleverly plotted page-turner complete with jaw-dropping twists leading up to an exciting, exhilarating conclusion.
Full of atmosphere, creepiness, jealousy, harboured secrets, and nefarious and questionable intentions, I would recommend this unsettling and unpredictable novel for anyone who enjoys eerie psychological thrillers with a strong paranormal element.
Thank you to JS Lark, Harper Impulse and Rachel’s RandomResources for the opportunity to read After You Fell. This review is my own unbiased opinion.
Jane is a coffee, chocolate and red wine lover, and a late-night writer of compelling, passionate, and emotionally charged fiction. Jane’s books may contain love, hate, violence, death, passion, a little swearing, and an ending you are never going to forget.