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The Last Wife by Karen Hamilton | Blog Tour | Book Review 

Thank you to the publisher, Harlequin Trade Publishing/ Graydon House Books, for inviting me to be a part of this exciting Blog Tour for Karen Hamilton’s latest novel The Last Wife and for the eARC of this title via NetGalley.

The Last Wife by Karen Hamilton

Publication Date: July 7, 2020

Publisher: Graydon House Books

ISBN: 9781525831744

My rating: 5/5

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Book Summary

In Karen Hamilton’s shocking thriller, THE LAST WIFE (Graydon House, July 7, $17.99) Marie Langham is distraught when her childhood friend, Nina, is diagnosed with a terminal illness. Before Nina passes away, she asks Marie to look out for her familyher son, daughter, and husband, Stuart. Marie would do anything for Nina, so of course, she agrees.

Following Nina’s death, Marie gradually finds herself drawn into her friend’s lifeher family, her large house in the countryside. But when Camilla, a mutual friend from their old art-college days, suddenly reappears, Marie begins to suspect that she has a hidden agenda. Then, Marie discovers that Nina had long suppressed secrets about a holiday in Ibiza the women took ten years previously when Marie’s then-boyfriend went missing after a tragic accident and was later found dead.

Marie used to envy Nina’s beautiful life, but now the cards are up in the air and she begins to realize that nothing is what it seemed. As long-buried secrets start surfacing, Marie must figure out what’s true and who she can trust before the consequences of Nina’s dark secrets destroy her.

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I Thought…

Best friends Nina and Marie are inseparable until Nina dies from a terminal illness. In her final days she asks Marie to make sure her children, Emily and Felix, are looked after and Marie is only too happy to oblige. But how well did Nina really know Marie and what lengths is Marie prepared to go to in order to achieve her goals?

This was a really twisted psychological thriller, which I thoroughly enjoyed reading. Marie was perfectly portrayed by Karen Hamilton as the ultimate unreliable and creepy character, and I questioned her integrity from the opening chapters. As she barrelled her way into Nina’s life I was given a powerful sense of exactly how manipulating Marie was prepared to be.

Narrator Marie, along with pretty much the whole of the adult cast, was not particularly affable and, in my opinion, was practically insane as well as being quite the scheming manipulator. As the story progressed I found myself pondering about the agendas and mind games of some of the others, particularly Nina’s husband, Stuart, not to mention Camilla, the friend of Marie and Nina from their University days who suddenly arrives from Canada. As secrets constantly kept bubbling up to the surface and occurrences clearly weren’t as they had first appeared, I began to feel that Marie at least deserved some benefit of doubt, even if I was on tenterhooks wondering what she was going to do next, most of the time.

With buckets of tension, a myriad of twists and different avenues keeps the reader on their toes, building up to an interesting and enthralling conclusion.  

The Last Wife is a dark, dubious and chilling family drama with some great characters, and plenty of oomph!

 
A special thank you to Graydon House Books, the author, NetGalley and Pigeonhole for a complimentary copy of this novel at my request. This review is my unbiased opinion.

About the Author:

Karen Hamilton spent her childhood in Angola, Zimbabwe, Belgium and Italy and worked as a flight attendant for many years. Karen is a recent graduate of the Faber Academy and, having now put down roots in Hampshire to raise her young family with her husband, she satisfies her wanderlust by exploring the world through her writing. She is also the author of the international bestseller The Perfect Girlfriend.

Social Links: Author WebsiteTwitter * Instagram * Facebook * Goodreads

Purchase atHarlequin / Barnes & Noble / Books-A-Million / Amazon / Powell’s 

Until Next Time, 

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Stranger in the Lake by Kimberly Belle | Blog Tour | Book Review 

Thank you to the publisher, Park Row Books, for inviting me to be a part of this exciting Blog Tour for Kimberly Belle’s latest novel Stranger in the Lake and for the eARC of this title via NetGalley.

Stranger in the Lake by Kimberly Belle

On Sale Date: June 9, 2020

Publisher: Park Row

ISBN: 978-0778309819

Pages: 352

Genre: Fiction, Thrillers, Psychological

My rating: 5/5

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Book Summary

When Charlotte married the wealthy widower Paul, it caused a ripple of gossip in their small lakeside town. They have a charmed life together, despite the cruel whispers about her humble past and his first marriage. But everything starts to unravel when she discovers a young woman’s body floating in the exact same spot where Paul’s first wife tragically drowned.

At first, it seems like a horrific coincidence, but the stranger in the lake is no stranger. Charlotte saw Paul talking to her the day before, even though Paul tells the police he’s never met the woman. His lie exposes cracks in their fragile new marriage, cracks Charlotte is determined to keep from breaking them in two.

As Charlotte uncovers dark mysteries about the man she married, she doesn’t know what to trust—her heart, which knows Paul to be a good man, or her growing suspicion that there’s something he’s hiding in the water.

I Thought…

Charlotte (Charlie), has recently married Paul Keller, a former widow and feels extremely happy in her surroundings. Paul is wealthy and the couple live in a gorgeous home overlooking Lake Crosby, North Carolina. The minted owner of Keller Architecture, Paul is a highly respected magnate and entrepreneur whereas Charlotte, a twenty-something gas station attendant, grew up in a caravan home, and often took charge of her younger brother, Chet when her mother was absent. Charlotte ignored all the rumours when she was swept off her feet by Paul. After all, despite her being a strong swimmer, the death of Paul’s first wife, Katherine, by drowning was deemed to be an accident. But when a second woman also drowns, in exactly the same spot under Paul’s jetty, secrets begin to surface…

 The story switches seamlessly between two timelines, the present and 1999, when Paul and friends Jax Edwards and Micah Hunt are spending their summer partying before leaving for college. The scenes from the present are mostly centred on the investigation that ensues. Stranger in the Lake has a thrilling premise and it is doubtlessly a spine-tingling story, while I regularly found myself pondering who to trust.

 With its comfortable pacing, the icing on the cake for me in this exhilarating tale was the incredible atmospheric setting. The lake was truly a malevolent presence throughout the proceedings. Kimberly Belle did a sterling job of exploring the motivation behind human weakness and imperfection, and I liked those aspects of the story detailing Charlotte’s bond with Sam Kincaid (Charlotte’s policeman friend), though I think more could have been made of this.

If you’ve enjoyed Kimberly Belle‘s previous books, or if novels with oodles of secrets, lies, misdirection and surprises dripping from the pages give you a buzz, then look no further than Stranger in the Lake!

A special thank you to Park Row Books, the author, and NetGalley for a complimentary copy of this novel at my request. This review is my unbiased opinion.

About the Author:

Kimberly Belle is the USA Today and internationally bestselling author of six novels, including the forthcoming Stranger in the Lake (June 2020). Her third novel, The Marriage Lie, was a semifinalist in the 2017 Goodreads Choice Awards for Best Mystery & Thriller, and a #1 e-book bestseller in the UK and Italy. She’s sold rights to her books in a dozen languages as well as film and television options. A graduate of Agnes Scott College, Belle divides her time between Atlanta and Amsterdam.

Social Links: Website//Facebook//Twitter//Instagram//Goodreads

Purchase at: Barnes & Noble / Books-A-MillionAmazon / IndieBound / Bookshop   

Until Next Time, 

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This Is How I Lied by Heather Gudenkauf | Blog Tour | Book Review 

Thank you to the publisher, Park Row Books, for inviting me to be a part of this exciting Blog Tour for Heather Gudenkauf’s latest novel This Is How I Lied and for the eARC of this title via NetGalley.

PUBLISHER: Park Row Books

PUBLICATION DATE: May 12th, 2020

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Book Summary

With the eccentricity of Fargo and the intensity of Sadie, THIS IS HOW I LIED by Heather Gudenkauf (Park Row Books; May 12, 2020; $17.99) is a timely and gripping thriller about careless violence we can inflict on those we love, and the lengths we will go to make it right, even 25 years later.

Tough as nails and seven months pregnant, Detective Maggie Kennedy-O’Keefe of Grotto PD, is dreading going on desk duty before having the baby her and her husband so badly want. But when new evidence is found in the 25-year-old cold case of her best friend’s murder that requires the work of a desk jockey, Maggie jumps at the opportunity to be the one who finally puts Eve Knox’s case to rest.

Maggie has her work cut out for her. Everyone close to Eve is a suspect. There’s Nola, Eve’s little sister who’s always been a little… off; Nick, Eve’s ex-boyfriend with a vicious temper; a Schwinn riding drifter who blew in and out of Grotto; even Maggie’s husband Sean, who may have known more about Eve’s last day than he’s letting on. As Maggie continues to investigate, the case comes closer and closer to home, forcing her to confront her own demons before she can find justice for Eve. 

I Thought…

 Having read another of Heather Gudenkauf‘s novels, Before She Was Found, I was thrilled to be able to read this one, too. Even if I hadn’t, the premise of this was novel was pretty exciting to me, as a keen crime fiction reader.

Twenty-five years ago, Eve Knox, aged 16, was murdered and her body found in the caves near her home in small-town Grotto, Iowa by her best friend, Maggie, and Eve’s sister, Nola. The case was never solved and now, further evidence has come to light. Maggie is now married, has worked hard at her job and has become Grotto PD detective Maggie Kennedy-O’Keefe. Heavily pregnant and soon to give birth, she is decides to take up the cold case…

Right from the start, I was completely absorbed by the suspense and the intriguing story-line. Heather Gudenkauf effortlessly brings to life many interesting characters in this pacy and gripping crime thriller, as well as delving into the motives and thoughts of each of them. Deadly menace and dangerous secrets are uncovered and the author is in complete control as she brilliantly manoeuvres this tale, blurring the boundaries between right and wrong, crime and justice. Heather Gudenkauf’s skilled writing made this appear effortless, keeping the story flowing so that I was never bored. With many twists and turns, I was totally engaged all the way through, until the fulfilling and very strong conclusion.

Overall, Heather Gudenkauf‘s special way with the narrative made this compelling tale quite distinct, resulting in This Is How I Lied being a very worthwhile read. If you’re a fan of the genre, you should really read this book! I will certainly be looking out for more of this talented author’s work in the future.

A special thank you to Park Row Books, the author, and NetGalley for a complimentary copy of this novel at my request. This review is my unbiased opinion.

Meet the Author:

Heather Gudenkauf is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of many books, including The Weight of Silence and These Things Hidden. Heather graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in elementary education, has spent her career working with students of all ages. She lives in Iowa with her husband, three children, and a very spoiled German Shorthaired Pointer named Lolo. In her free time, Heather enjoys spending time with her family, reading, hiking, and running.

Social Links: Website//Facebook//Twitter//Instagram//Goodreads

Purchase at: Barnes & Noble / HarlequinBooks-A-MillionAmazonPowell’s   

Until Next Time, 

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The Summer Villa by Melissa Hill | Blog Tour | Book Review 

I am delighted to join the holiday blog tour for The Summer Villa by Melissa Hill today! My thanks to Harlequin Publishing for the invitation to join. I was gifted a copy of The Summer Villa to read in exchange for my honest review. 

Book Info and Rating  

THE SUMMER VILLA
Author: Melissa Hill
ISBN: 9780778359982
Publication Date: April 28, 2020
Publisher: MIRA Books                                                                                                Genres: fiction, contemporary, women’s                                                                Rating: 5 stars

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Book Summary

When a little white lie becomes the story of your life, what if the truth comes out?

For three women, it’s a life-changing trip: one finds the man of her dreams, another discovers inspiration amidst Italian food and culture, while a chance encounter with a handsome local ushers in the ultimate life change for the third. But most importantly, it’s the beginning of a deep and lasting friendship between all three.

Now years later, Kim Weston – entrepreneur and owner of internationally successful Italian food and lifestyle business, The Sweet Life – has bought and restored the tumble-down villa to its former glory – and plans to reopen Villa Dolce Vita as a wellness/cultural retreat – a fitting honor to the root of her business inspiration.

To celebrate the villa’s grand opening, she and her Italian business partners are throwing a huge three-day party; flying a group of family, business and media contacts to the Amalfi Coast to join in the celebrations. And most importantly, the (still) close friends who started the journey with her: Annie and husband Nate, whose love story began at the villa, and single mum Eva, whose son was the result of an ill-advised Italian fling.

But in the run up to the planned weekend in Italy, it becomes clear that not everyone is happy about the party, nor are they on board with such ambitious plans for the location. And, as Villa Dolce Vita’s grand relaunch draws closer, old memories and past secrets come to light, and the three old friends are forced to question if anything that happened on that first fateful trip to the villa is at all what it seemed.

I Thought…

The Summer Villa, an engagingly sweet summer escape, saw me relaxing in a pretty villa in Italy – it was certainly an enchanting read! I revelled in losing myself to Melissa Hill’s fabulous novel. The characters were amicable and convivial, though flawed, but still a real pleasure to get to know.

Three women, Kim, Annie and Colette, all fleeing from their problems at home, pitch up at a crumbling villa in Italy, called Dolce Vita. The women all form a close bond, and their lives are forever changed. Five years later, successful entrepreneur Kim decides to buy and restore the charming villa, and along with some business associates, is now planning a three-day grand opening. It will be a perfect opportunity for the three great friends to reunite and spend some time together enjoying themselves on the Amalfi coast. Naturally, everything does not go as planned – secrets are unearthed and old memories are dredged up, all resulting in oodles of melodrama.

Melissa Hill has written a divine story that is bursting at the seams with vivid and exquisite descriptions of Italy and Villa Dolce Vita. All of the characters were adeptly developed and I often found myself wishing I could be there along with my new friends, Kim, Annie and Colette.

I thoroughly enjoy books with strong friendship themes so The Summer Villa was a perfect read for me. The author’s writing was just as I expected it would be, first-class, and the perfect pacing and compelling plot-line all added a touch of style to the novel.

With its exciting resolution, this is one story you won’t want to miss! Very highly recommended without any hesitation to anyone looking for their next great read.

Thanks to NetGalley, Harlequin - MIRA and the author, Melissa Hill for the complimentary copy. This is my honest and totally voluntary review.

Meet the Author:

MELISSA HILL lives in south Dublin with her husband and daughter. A USA TODAY and international #1 bestseller, she is the author of 13 novels, including The Gift of a Charm and A Gift From Tiffany’s. The Gift of a Charm was a USA TODAY bestseller. Hailed “the queen of the big plot twist,” she combines all the warmth and humor of contemporary women’s fiction with plots that keep readers guessing from page to page. Melissa also cowrites forensic thrillers with her husband, Kevin, under the pseudonym Casey Hill, featuring crime scene investigator Reilly Steel. For more information, visit www.caseyhillbooks.com

Social Links: Website//Facebook//Twitter//Goodreads

Purchase at: Barnes & Noble // Kobo // Amazon // IndieBound // Harlequin // Walmart // Target // Google

Until Next Time, 

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The Third to Die by Allison Brennan | Blog Tour | Book Review 

I am delighted to join the holiday blog tour for The Third to Die by Allison Brennan today! My thanks to Harlequin Publishing for the invitation to join. I was gifted a copy of The Third to Die to read in exchange for my honest review. 

Book Info and Rating

Published: February 4th 2020 by Mira Books
ISBN: 9780778309444
Genres: fiction, thriller, suspense                                 
Rating: 5 stars

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Book Summary

New York Times bestselling author and gifted storyteller Allison Brennan’s new standalone thriller features a troubled female police detective and an ambitious FBI special agent who wind up at the center of a ticking-clock investigation into a diabolical serial killer.

Brennan’s novel will launch a book-a-year series featuring a fabulous cast of recurring characters. It’s the story of a troubled female police detective and an ambitious FBI special agent who wind up at the center of a ticking-clock investigation into a diabolical serial killer; and the bond they forge in this crucible sets the stage for the future books in the series.

Detective Kara Quinn is visiting her hometown of Liberty Lake, Washington, after being placed on administrative leave by the LAPD, when she comes upon the mutilated body of a young nurse during an early morning jog. The manner of death is clearly ritualistic; she calls it in. Meanwhile back in DC, special agent in charge Mattias Costa is meticulously staffing his newly-minted Mobile Response Team. One of his first recruits is the brilliant FBI forensic psychologist Catherine Jones. When word reaches Matt that the Washington state murder appears to be the work of the Triple Killer–it will be the first case for the MRT. Jones has done the only profile on this serial killer, but she is reluctant to join the unit, still shaken by the death of her sister a year ago under circumstances for which she holds herself responsible. But only she holds the key to understanding the killer’s obsessive pattern–three murder victims, three deep slashes a piece, each three days apart, each series beginning on a March 3rd–3/3, then a three-year hiatus before he strikes again.

This time they have a chance to stop him before he claims another victim strikes, but only if they can figure out who he is and where is is hiding.

I Thought…

Golly, what an impressive read this little gem turned out to be!

The Third to Die is the first book in a new series by Allison Brennan centring on the FBI’s Mobile Response Team. This newly formed part of the FBI consists of highly specialised agents who are top in their field, be it forensics, crime scene specialists or investigators. They are operational primarily in rural areas and this is their first case.

A serial killer has resurfaced whose preferred method of attack is to kill on March 3rd, 6th or 9th, every three years. Enter FBI special agent Mathias (Matt) Costa who has been advised that a body of a young nurse has been found in Liberty Lake and the murder fits the profile of the compulsive so-called ‘Triple Killer’.

Detective Kara Quinn, on enforced leave from the LAPD and out jogging in her hometown, made the gruesome discovery and offers her help in solving the case, which Matt readily accepts.

This story is zhooshed up by the addition of Kara who is a curious character, and fiercely independent with a strong sense of justice. The chemistry between her Matt is electric and they also share mutual respect for one another. The reader is privy to glimpses of ambitious Matt’s past involving his reluctant profiler, Catherine Jones. Not all is explained, but it involves a prior case that led to the death of Catherine’s sister. Matt himself is shrewd and makes a marvellous leader.

The mystery element in The Third to Die is magnificent and totally engaging, although not particularly offbeat. The tight time-frame keeps the plot rolling, with no opportunity to become mired in tediousness. The procedural aspects are solid with the exasperation of the team, hampered by bureaucracy, coming through winningly.

The Third to Die is wonderfully written in a style I relish and I’m in my reading element when a percipient perpetrator emerges to challenge a talented, super-smart team. This is a great start to what is sure to be a stellar series.

I enjoyed The Third to Die so much that I’m reading the books from Brennan’s other series’ and cannot wait for her next in this one.

Thanks to NetGalley, Harlequin - MIRA and the author, Allison Brennan for the complimentary copy. This is my honest and totally voluntary review.

Meet the Author:

Allison Brennan is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of three dozen thrillers and numerous short stories. She was nominated for Best Paperback Original Thriller by International Thriller Writers, has had multiple nominations and two Daphne du Maurier Awards, and is a five-time RITA finalist for Best Romantic Suspense. Allison believes life is too short to be bored, so she had five kids. Allison and her family live in Arizona. Visit her at allisonbrennan.com

Social Links: Website//Facebook//Twitter//Instagram//Goodreads

Purchase at: Barnes & Noble // Kobo // Books-A-Million //Amazon //  IndieBound // Applebooks // Google Play

Until Next Time, 

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A Crafter Quilts a Crime by Holly Quinn | Blog Tour | Book Review | Giveaway 

A Crafter Quilts a Crime: A Handcrafted Mystery by Holly Quinn

I am delighted to join the blog tour for A Crafter Quilts a Crime by Holly Quinn today! My thanks to Lori at Great Escapes Book Tours for the chance to join and the review copy!

About A Crafter Quilts A Crime

A Crafter Quilts a Crime: A Handcrafted Mystery
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books (February 11, 2020)
Hardcover
ISBN-10: 1643852906
ISBN-13: 978-1643852904
Kindle ASIN: B07RTMXRK8

Perfect for fans of Betty Hechtman and Maggie Sefton, Holly Quinn’s third Handcrafted mystery aspires to wrap you in its warmth.

Community Craft proprietor Sammy Kane must piece together a patchwork of clues when a “live” mannequin ends up stone-cold dead.

Snowcapped pines and glittery dusted sidewalks adorn tranquil Heartsford, Wisconsin, while residents cuddle beneath heirloom quilts in front of cozy wood fires. But come the next day, the below-zero temperatures won’t keep the locals away from Heartsford’s annual Fire & Ice event. To boost customer traffic at Community Craft’s one-night-only sale, Samantha “Sammy” Kane persuades a few of the craftspeople who sell their wares at the store to participate in a live mannequin window display contest.

Local quilter Wanda Wadsworth emerges as a favorite to win the contest, as she manages to not move a muscle for an unusual amount of time. Onlookers outside the window try everything to get her to crack–tapping on the glass and making funny faces–but nothing disrupts Wanda’s stillness. When the eagle-eyed spectators realize Wanda isn’t breathing, a blanket of grief and fear descends upon the wintry town.

Detective Liam Nash can’t seem to piece the clues together. Fortunately, Sammy’s cousin, Heidi, and her sister, Ellie, are on hand to reconvene their detective team, S.H.E. They set out to solve Wanda’s untimely death before the case grows as icy as a sub-zero Wisconsin winter. But they are all too aware that the killer is too close for comfort.

I Thought…

I have read book two (A Crafter Hooks a Killer) in this fabulous cozy mystery series, so I was absolutely delighted to be given the opportunity to read this third book – A Crafter Quilts a Crime. Just like book two, it has a little bit of everything on offer – a quaint setting in a quiet(?!) village, a cute craft shop, a knitting shop, and a bakery selling delicious cakes, cookies and hot chocolate. Perfect.

I loved the story-line -the plot was so engaging, the pacing was perfect and I was totally engrossed from the first few pages. For anyone starting the ‘Handcrafted Mystery’ series from book three, it shouldn’t be a problem as plenty of back-story is given where needed and this did not interrupt the flow of the mystery.

The writing style of Holly Quinn is great for me! There is a good combination of descriptive passages to dialogue. The characters are all very interesting with their own personalities and foibles. My favourites are the protagonist, Sammy and the handsome detective, Liam Nash, with his smouldering, chocolate-brown eyes. Sammy herself comes across as fun-loving, effervescent and very down-to-earth and it was marvellous to be back in her hometown of Heartsford, Wisconsin, even though a murder had just taken place and it was freezing cold and snowing.

There is a good mix of general village life to the mystery and I was with Sammy all the way, as well as Heidi, and her sister, Ellie, who have reconvened their detective team, S.H.E. as they tried to figure out the identity of the perpetrator. I remained in the dark until the very exciting and fulfilling ending.

I will be reading book one in the series – A Crafter Knits a Clue – as soon as I get the opportunity.

If cozies are one of your genres of choice, you really must read A Crafter Quilts a Crime.

I received a complimentary copy of this novel from Great Escapes Book Tours, at my request and this review is my own unbiased opinion.

Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Five Stars

About Holly Quinn

Holly Quinn has published two stand-alone fiction novels in another persona. She graduated from Carroll University in Wisconsin with a Bachelor of Science in business and a minor in marketing. This is her third Handcrafted mystery. Visit her @ www.authorhollyquinn.com

You can also follow Holly on:

FacebookWebsite – Goodreads

Purchase Links – Amazon – B&N – BAM – IndieBound – Powell’s Books – Walmart 

There is a Rafflecopter Giveaway for this tour. Please click below to enter and good luck!

Don’t forget the other stops on the tour!

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

February 1 – Diary of a Book Fiend – SPOTLIGHT 

February 1 – Literary Gold – CHARACTER GUEST POST

February 2 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

February 2 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW

February 3 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

February 3 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

February 4 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW

February 4 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW

February 5 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT

February 5 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

February 6 – Cozy Up With Kathy – CHARACTER GUEST POST

February 6 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW

February 7 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW

February 7 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

February 8 – This Is My Truth Now – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

February 8 – Brianne’s Book Reviews – REVIEW

February 9 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

February 9 – Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers – SPOTLIGHT

February 10 – My Reading Journeys – SPOTLIGHT

February 10 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

February 11 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

February 11 – Maureen’s Musings – REVIEW

February 12 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW

February 12 – Brooke Blogs  SPOTLIGHT

February 13 – Mysteries with Character – GUEST POST

February 13 – Gimme The Scoop Reviews – REVIEW

February 14 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW

February 14 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

February 14 – Diane Reviews Books – GUEST POST

Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?

Click Here Find Details and Sign Up Today!

Until Next Time, 

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A Love Hate Thing by Whitney D. Grandison | Blog Tour | Book Review 

I am delighted to join the blog tour for A Love Hate Thing by Whitney D. Grandison today! My thanks to Harlequin Publishing for the invitation to join. I was gifted a copy of A Love Hate Thing to read in exchange for my honest review. 

Book Info and Rating

Hardback, 464 pages
Published January 7th 2020 by Inkyard Press
ISBN 133501604X (ISBN13: 9781335016041)
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Genres: Young Adult Fiction / Romance / Contemporary                             Ages 13 And Up

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Book Summary

A fantastic enemies to lovers romance about an It girl whose world is upended when a boy from the past moves into her house after tragedy strikes. For fans of Ibi Zoboi’s Pride, Mary H. K. Choi and Samira Ahmed. Wattpad author Whitney D. Grandison’s traditional publishing debut.

When they’re stuck under one roof, the house may not be big enough for their hate…or their love.

When Tyson Trice finds himself tossed into the affluent coastal community of Pacific Hills, he’s ready for the questions, the stares, and the total feeling of not belonging in the posh suburb. Not that he cares. After recovering from being shot and surviving the mean streets of Lindenwood, he doesn’t care about anyone or anything. He doesn’t even care how the rest of his life will play out.

In Pacific Hills, image is everything. Something that, as the resident golden girl, Nandy Smith knows all too well. She’s spent most of her life building the pristine image that it takes to fit in. After learning that her parents are taking in a former childhood friend, Nandy fears her summer plans, as well as her reputation, will go up in flames. It’s the start of summer vacation and the last thing Nandy needs is some juvenile delinquent from the ’Wood crashing into her world.

Stuck together in close quarters, Trice and Nandy are in for some long summer nights. Only, with the ever-present pull back to the Lindenwood streets, it’ll be a wonder if Trice makes it through this summer at all.

I Thought…

Whitney D. Grandison writes very enjoyably about friendship and love in this coming of age story.

After recovering from being shot, seventeen-year-old Tyson Trice finds himself living with the well-off Smith family – Maxine (Max) and Parker their daughter, Nandy and adopted Thai son, Jordy. Having spent most of his life, so far, surviving the rough streets of Lindenwood, Trice, as he likes to be known, doesn’t care about anyone or anything. Meanwhile privileged Nandy has spent most of her young life concerned about her image and status in her hometown of the Pacific Hills, California. Having just discovered that her parents are bringing a juvenile delinquent into the family home Nandy fears for her summer holiday plans, as well as her well-cultivated, golden girl reputation. With the two of them living under the same roof, will the house be big enough for all their hate and love?

A Love Hate Thing is told from the alternative viewpoints of Nandy and Trice, an approach that generally works very well for me in this type of story. I anticipated having some problems identifying with both of the main characters, not being a part of the intended audience or target group, although I was surprised to find that this wasn’t the case.

It was fascinating to learn about Trice and Nandy’s former close friendship when they were both aged nine. Both Nandy and Trice face real prejudices as they get to know each other again. I found that protagonist Trice’s viewpoints in particular, were a revelation both in the trauma of his past and the way he believes himself to be undeserving of better things. Whitney D. Grandison’s portrayal of loyal and intelligent Trice being catapulted into Nandy’s world of the über-rich is engrossing and poignant, especially as image and conventionality in Pacific Hills are everything. Trice’s strength and gentleness is arresting as is the need to hide his ingrained grief with impassiveness and a hard exterior.

I gradually grew to enjoy the character of Nandy. Although she displays class prejudice towards Trice in the beginning, I understood where her opinions stemmed from. Her friendliness, kindness, and welcoming nature gradually shone through. I really relished reading about Nandy’s diverse and congenial group of friends which was a very strong element of the novel for me.

Nandy and Trice each struggled with their vulnerabilities and it was interesting to watch them let down their guards as the story progressed. A Love Hate Thing is a gritty character driven story about the potential for change. It is about love, acceptance, friendship, loyalty, trust, and second chances. It also takes a good look at the problems society has with race and social status.

From the first chapter till the last, I found myself connecting with this compelling story. From Nandy and Trice’s personal development to their relationship with one another, I felt as though I knew them personally.

Read A Love Hate Thing if you are partial to a good coming-of-age story full to the brim with interesting characters, strong on bittersweet and sugarcoated friendships and plenty of angst.

Thanks to NetGalley, Harlequin-Inkyard Press and the author, Whitney D. Grandison for the complimentary copy. This is my honest and totally voluntary review.

Meet the Author:

Whitney D. Grandison was born and raised in Akron, Ohio, where she currently resides. A lover of stories since she first picked up a book, it’s no surprise she’s taken to writing her own. Some of her works can be found on Wattpad, one of the largest online story sharing platforms, where she has acquired over 30,000 followers and an audience of over fifteen million dedicated readers. Connect with Whitney on Instagram or Twitter.

Buy Links: HarlequinAmazonBarnes & NobleIndie BoundKoboBooks-a-MillionGoogle Play

Until Next Time, 

Featured

Good Girls Lie by J. T. Ellison | Blog Tour | Book Review 

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. 

Book Info and Rating

Published: December 30th 2019 by Mira Books
ISBN: 9780778330776                                                                                     
Genres: psychological, thriller, mystery, suspense                                 
Rating: 5 stars

🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤

Book Summary

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.

I Thought…

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:

JT Ellison Author Photo credit Krista Lee Photography - vertical

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

Purchase at Barnes & Noble  //  Kobo  //  Books-A-Million // Amazon  //  Indiebound

Until Next Time, 

Featured

Brewed Awakening by Cleo Coyle | Blog Tour | Book Review | Giveaway 

Brewed Awakening (A Coffeehouse Mystery) by Cleo Coyle

I am delighted to join the blog tour for Brewed Awakening by Cleo Coyle today! My thanks to Lori at Great Escapes Book Tours for the chance to join and the review copy!

About Brewed Awakening

Brewed Awakening: A Coffeehouse Mystery by Cleo Coyle

Brewed Awakening (A Coffeehouse Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
18th in Series
Berkley (December 3, 2019)
Hardcover: 368 pages
ISBN-10: 0451488873
ISBN-13: 978-0451488879
Digital ASIN: B07GQHK51D

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.

I Thought…

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 Alice Kimberly.

So entertaining and engaging, Brewed Awakening is definitely well worth the time invested.

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 Cleo Coyle

Cleo Coyle – Alice Alfonsi and Marc Cerasini

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.

You can also follow Cleo on:

Facebook – Twitter – Instagram – Pinterest – Bookbub – Goodreads

Purchase Links

Amazon     B&N     Kobo   Google Play  IndieBound

There is a Rafflecopter Giveaway for this tour. Please click below to enter and good luck!

Don’t forget the other stops on the tour!

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

December 2 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

December 2 – My Reading Journeys – SPOTLIGHT 

December 3 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT

December 3 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT

December 4 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

December 4 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

December 5 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – SPOTLIGHT

December 5 – Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews – REVIEW  

December 6 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW  

December 7 – I Read What You Write – SPOTLIGHT

December 8 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT

December 8 – This Is My Truth Now – SPOTLIGHT

December 9 – The Book Diva’s Reads – SPOTLIGHT

December 10 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

December 10 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

December 11 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

December 11 – Diane Reviews Books – REVIEW

December 12 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW

December 12 – Mysteries with Character – REVIEW

December 13 – Brianne’s Book Reviews – REVIEW

December 14 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

December 15 – Ruff Drafts – REVIEW

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Until Next Time, 

Featured

Christmas from the Heart by Sheila Roberts | Blog Tour 

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

Book Summary

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?

I Thought…

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

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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

Buy Links : Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Kobo | Google 

Until Next Time,