The Marijuana Murders by Mark S. Bacon | Blog Tour 

@baconauthor @GoddessFish #TheMarijuanaMurders

I am delighted to join the blog tour for The Marijuana Murders by Mark S. Bacon today! My thanks to Marianne & Judy at Goddess Fish Promotions for the chance to join and the wonderful review copy!

Book Summary

Nostalgia City executive Kate Sorensen finds the body of a mechanic crushed under an automobile hoist in the theme park’s garage. Accident or murder? Will it impact Kate’s decision to become an advisor for one of two competing campaigns to legalize marijuana in Arizona?

When the death is ruled a homicide and the DEA stages a surprise raid, park cab driver Lyle Deming is recruited to help solve the murder and find out if the park’s garage is being used to smuggle drugs. The anxiety-ridden ex-cop is soon poking around a Mexican border town looking for a park contractor who might be a drug mule. Or he might be dead.

Meanwhile, Kate, a 6-2 former college basketball star, is in the middle of a heated clash between potential corporate control of pot marketing and a laid-back, grow-your-own approach. As Kate wonders whether she should mediate or advocate, she’s forced to dash for her life. Amid setbacks and threats, she and Lyle must sort through interwoven crimes, a tangle of evidence, and dark suspects.

Then there’s another murder.

The Marijuana Murders is the third novel in this mystery series set in Nostalgia City, a theme park that re-creates—in every detail—a small town from the 1970s.

Buy Links:

Amazon Kindle

Amazon Print

I Thought…

What a mind-blowing and exciting read!

Even though The Marijuana Murders was book three in a series I found that this novel still suited my tastes as a lover of the mystery genre and it held its own as a single read. During a great, solid opening chapter, the tension built and the action really started to happen.

The setting of a 1970’s theme park was highly original, for me anyway. The characters created by the author, Mark S. Bacon, were fascinating in themselves and the pacing was perfect for the story. With an effortlessly transitioning plot-line, the suspense just built and built as the story progressed, right up until the exciting and nail-biting conclusion. I just had to keep turning those pages and I didn’t guess the identity of the perpetrators in this fantastic mystery.

This multi-layered mystery was most intriguing, especially with the inclusion of some of the interesting links, including the political and current events which complemented the setting of the theme park, Nostalgia City and the current desire to make marijuana legal for all adults.

I loved the chemistry and tenderness between the main characters, Kate Sorensen and Lyle Deming. I liked Kate’s unwavering loyalty, fearlessness and determination. For his part, theme park cab driver and ex-cop Lyle, though anxiety-ridden, was tireless in his dogged pursuit of the truth.

If you’re looking for a truly explosive read, then I heartily recommend The Marijuana Murders. I will be looking out for more by this fabulous author, Mark S. Bacon.

I received a complimentary copy of this novel at my own request from Goddess Fish Promotions. This review is my own unbiased opinion.

Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Five Stars

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Mark S. Bacon began his career as a Southern California newspaper police reporter, one of his crime stories becoming key evidence in a murder case that spanned decades.

After working for two newspapers, he moved to advertising and marketing when he became a copywriter for Knott’s Berry Farm, the large theme park down the road from Disneyland.  Experience working at Knott’s formed part of the inspiration for his creation of Nostalgia City theme park.  

Before turning to fiction, Bacon wrote business books including Do-It-Yourself Direct Marketing, printed in four languages and three editions, named best business book of the year by the Library Journal, and selected by the Book of the Month Club and two other book clubs.  His articles have appeared in the Washington Post, Cleveland Plain Dealer, San Antonio Express News, Orange County (Calif.) Register, and many other publications.  Most recently he was a correspondent for the San Francisco Chronicle.

The Marijuana Murders is the third book in the Nostalgia City mystery series that began with Death in Nostalgia City.  The first book introduced ex-cop turned cab driver Lyle Deming and PR executive Kate Sorensen, a former college basketball star.  Death in Nostalgia City was recommended in February for book clubs by the American Library Association.

Bacon is the author of flash fiction mystery books including, Cops, Crooks and Other Stories in 100 Words.  He taught journalism as a member of the adjunct faculty at Cal Poly University – Pomona, the University of Nevada – Reno, and the University of Redlands.  He earned an MA in mass media from UNLV and a BA in journalism from Fresno State.   He gets many of his ideas while walking his golden retriever, Willow.

Website: https://baconsmysteries.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/baconauthor

FB: https://www.facebook.com/markbaconmysteries/

Mark S. Bacon will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Don’t forget the other stops on the tour!

July 10: Brianne’s Book Reviews
July 10: Enchanting Reviews
July 17: Our Town Book Reviews
July 17: JB’s Bookworms with Brandy Mulder
July 24: The Avid Reader
July 24: Cassidy’s Bookshelves
July 31: Sharing Links and Wisdom
July 31: Enchanting Reviews

Until Next Time, 

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The East End by Jason Allen | Blog Tour 

@HarperCollins @parkrowbooks @justine_sha @EathanJason #TheEastEnd.

I am delighted to join the blog tour for The East End by Jason Allen today! My thanks to Justine at Park Row Books for the invitation to join and the wonderful review copy received via NetGalley!

The East End is available to buy NOW!

Buy Links:

Harlequin

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Books-A-Million

Powell’s

THE EAST END

Author: Jason Allen

ISBN: 9780778308393

Publication Date: 5/7/19

Publisher: Park Row Books

BOOK SUMMARY

THE EAST END opens with Corey Halpern, a Hamptons local from a broken home who breaks into mansions at night for kicks. He likes the rush and admittedly, the escapism. One night just before Memorial Day weekend, he breaks into the wrong home at the wrong time: the Sheffield estate where he and his mother work. Under the cover of darkness, their boss Leo Sheffield — billionaire CEO, patriarch, and owner of the vast lakeside manor — arrives unexpectedly with his lover, Henry. After a shocking poolside accident leaves Henry dead, everything depends on Leo burying the truth. But unfortunately for him, Corey saw what happened and there are other eyes in the shadows.

Hordes of family and guests are coming to the estate the next morning, including Leo’s surly wife, all expecting a lavish vacation weekend of poolside drinks, evening parties, and fireworks filling the sky. No one can know there’s a dead man in the woods, and there is no one Leo can turn to. With his very life on the line, everything will come down to a split-second decision. For all of the main players—Leo, Gina, and Corey alike—time is ticking down, and the world they’ve known is set to explode.

Told through multiple points of view, THE EAST END highlights the socio-economic divide in the Hamptons, but also how the basic human need for connection and trust can transcend class differences. Secrecy, obsession, and desperation dictate each character’s path. In a race against time, each critical moment holds life in the balance as Corey, Gina, and Leo approach a common breaking point. THE EAST END is a propulsive read, rich with character and atmosphere, and marks the emergence of a talented new voice in fiction.

I THOUGHT…

My word, how exciting and enthralling was this début novel by newcomer Jason Allen?!  

Being honest, I went into The East End without much enthusiasm, thinking “Oh well, yet another novel about dysfunctional behaviour and taking drugs.” (Huge sigh). But if I had continued with that line of thought and not read The East End, I would have missed out on so much as it turned out to be one of the best reads of the year so far.

I was immediately blown away by all of the drama, from page one. Yes there was some drug-taking – well a lot actually – however, it was absolutely essential to the story-line.

The book opens with a break-in. Living with his mum, Gina, in the Hamptons, Corey Halpern has just graduated from high school and Gina  is employed as a housekeeper for billionaire Leo Sheffield. Full of angst towards the filthy rich, Corey spends much of his time breaking into their homes, not to steal but to play pranks on them. He decides to break into the Sheffield mansion which is home to Leo, wife Sheila and teenage daughter, Tiffany and witnesses something he wished he had not. But what will he choose to do next?  

The East End was told from several different perspectives which is normally something I am not too fond of, however, Jason Allen achieved this admirably and without any confusion for me.

The characters that Jason Allen created were so well drawn it was almost unbelievable. I felt that I was part of the unfolding drama with every chapter, as I found myself shouting out advice to the particular character who was facing their latest dilemma. I found it difficult to choose a favourite character so I opted for three of them – Leo, Gina and Angelique. Leo, I felt huge sadness for, as he was so down on his luck, though he did habitually make a lot of bad choices. I had so much empathy with Gina and who could not adore Angelique? She was so feisty, gutsy and full of hope despite her start in life.

The emotional complexity of the story was definitely one of the highlights of The East End and I loved the tenderness between Corey and Angelique.

Jason Allen’s writing style was very unique. There were longer paragraphs of narrative and less dialogue in this book than I’m used to, however, the plot was so engrossing that it didn’t prevent me from loving the story.

This book has everything from secrets, love and family to addiction, scandal, desperation, tragedy and greed. The plot was presented in the form of a slow burning mystery with underlying themes of class, social structure and discrimination packaged as a family drama but with added comedic aspect.

The ending was a surprise and, for me, very fitting and fulfilling. All in all, I found this book to be a fantastic and very worthwhile read and I look forward to reading more from Jason Allen.

Thanks to NetGalley, Park Row Books and the author, Jason Allen for my complimentary ARC of The East End. My honest review is entirely voluntary.

#TheEastEnd #NetGalley

Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Five Stars

🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jason Allen grew up in a working-class home in the Hamptons, where he worked a variety of blue-collar jobs for wealthy estate owners. He writes fiction, poetry, and memoir, and is the author of the poetry collection A MEDITATION ON FIRE. He has an MFA from Pacific University and a PhD in literature and creative writing from Binghamton University, and currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia, where he teaches writing. THE EAST END is his first novel.

Social Links:

Author Website

Twitter: @EathanJason

Facebook: @jasonallenauthor

Goodreads

Jason Allen is also doing a book tour on the east coast to the cities listed below.

Until Next Time, 

Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton | Review

Book Synopsis

An utterly wonderful début novel of love, crime, magic, fate and a boy’s coming of age, set in 1980’s Australia and infused with the originality, charm, pathos, and heart of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

The mind can take you anywhere you want to go.

Eli Bell’s life is complicated. His father is lost, his mother is in jail, and his step-dad is a heroin dealer. The most steadfast adult in Eli’s life is Slim – a notorious felon and national record-holder for successful prison escapes – who watches over Eli and August, his silent genius of an older brother.

Exiled far from the rest of the world in Darra, a seedy suburb populated by Polish and Vietnamese refugees, this twelve-year-old boy with an old soul and an adult mind is just trying to follow his heart, learn what it takes to be a good man, and train for a glamorous career in journalism. Life, however, insists on throwing obstacles in Eli’s path – most notably Tytus Broz, Brisbane’s legendary drug dealer.

But the real trouble lies ahead. Eli is about to fall in love, face off against truly bad guys, and fight to save his mother from a certain doom – all before starting high school.

A story of brotherhood, true love, family, and the most unlikely of friendships, Boy Swallows Universe is the tale of an adolescent boy on the cusp of discovering the man he will be. Powerful and kinetic, Trent Dalton’s début is sure to be one of the most heartbreaking, joyous and exhilarating novels you will experience. 

My Thoughts

If I had to describe this novel in three words they would be emotional, effortful and impactful in more or less equal measures.

After having read “Boy Swallows Universe” I feel that I am completely indebted to Trent Dalton! This book has all the components that make a really fantastic story: from the mood and undercurrents to the very clever writing and the experience of love and friendship, not forgetting the feelings of hope, desperation and failure. Trent Dalton has drawn a remarkable young narrator to adore in Eli, growing up in his vastly dysfunctional family. 

There were instances where this was a very difficult read for me, being as it was a little like sitting on a roller-coaster, however, it was extremely worthwhile even though, by my standards, it was a fairly lengthy novel. 

 I enjoyed “Boy Swallows Universe” so much and I’m hoping to read more by Trent Dalton soon…

[Thanks to Edelweiss, HarperCollins UK and the author, Trent Dalton, for my free ARC of #BoySwallowsUniverse in exchange for an honest review.]

Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Five Stars

Happy Reading!

The Dangerous Kind by Deborah O’Connor | Review

Book Synopsis

What if the people we trust are the ones we should fear? 

Zaffre’s biggest breakout thriller of 2019.

One in 100 of us is what the police call a ‘potentially dangerous person’ – someone likely to commit a violent crime. These people hide in plain sight, they can be teachers, doctors, holding positions of trust, of power.

Jessamine Gooch makes a living tracking the 1 in 100. Each week she broadcasts a radio show that examines brutal offences, asking if more could have been done to identify and prevent their perpetrators.

But when she agrees to investigate a missing person case involving a young mother, she is drawn into a web of danger that will ultimately lead to the upper echelons of power, and threaten the safety of her own family. 

Set over a long, dark winter in London and perfect for fans of HE SAID/SHE SAID and Belinda Bauer, THE DANGEROUS KIND is at once a gripping thriller and a stunning portrayal of the monsters that live among us.

Advance Praise

‘Searingly relevant’ Gillian McAllister

‘An absolute triumph’ Holly Seddon

‘Originality oozing off every page’ Eva Dolan

‘Clever, unpredictable and beautifully done’ Liz Loves Books

‘Absolutely brilliant . . . a sophisticated, smart engaging thriller’ Jo Spain

‘Dark, disturbing, devilishly plotted’ Chris Whitaker

‘Urgent, relevant and completely unputdownable’ Martyn Waites

‘Dark and unpredictable’ Jenny Quintana

‘Brilliantly compelling’  T. M. Logan

‘A powerful, timely and unnerving thriller’ David Jackson 

Pages: Approx. 448

Publishers: Bonnier Zaffre

Date Published: 11th April 2019

Buy your copy now from:

Amazon | Waterstones

My Review

If I had to describe The Dangerous Kind in three words they would be harrowing, disturbing and frightening in more or less equal measures. It’s pretty much what I would expect from a thriller set in today’s modern society. But wow, what stunning, well-thought-out masterpiece!

After having read The Dangerous Kind, I feel that I am completely indebted to Deborah O’Connor! This book has all the components that make a really fantastic story: from the mood and undercurrents to the very clever writing and the experience of love and friendship, not forgetting the feelings of hope, the fear, the utter desperation and failure.

The title of the book is derived from a police classification of a ‘Potentially Dangerous Person’ (PDP) who is someone that has not been convicted of an offence but whose behaviour indicates that they are likely to commit one.

Set during the winter-time and spanning a period of ten-plus years, the book is told from different time periods and aspects, the first one being Jessamine Gooch, as well as Rowena and also Jitesh. Deborah O’Connor has drawn a great character in Jessamine, a former journalist now working at the BBC and hosting a long-running true crime radio series, ‘Potentially Dangerous People’. In addition, she volunteers at a helpline for victims of domestic violence and is the mother of her teenage daughter, all the while trying to cope with the various difficulties she has going on in her life.

Equally noteworthy is Deborah O’Connor’s portrayal of Rowena. Her heart-breaking story is told as sensitively as possible but her vulnerability and the level of her abuse she suffered, though implicit, is nevertheless exceptionally sorrowful to read and plays a central role to the unfolding drama.

Jitesh’s character has also been brilliantly drawn by the author, Deborah. A student who has been given an unconditional offer to join Cambridge University, he has decided to take a year out and work as an IT intern. However, even as a young adult, he has already suffered many of life’s difficulties, although he possesses a moral strength that left me no choice but to feel an enormous amount of empathy with him.

There were instances where this was a very difficult read for me and it was a little like being on a roller-coaster, with someone shouting “Do you want to go faster?” However, it was extremely worthwhile even though many of the subjects touched upon are so abhorrent. 

Deborah O’Connor was very brave to write about such a disturbing and unsettling subject matter like child prostitution. She impressively managed to do so with great sensitivity, thus making the story a little more palatable than it could have been. The story-line was masterfully crafted and showed originality. The separate stories were so superbly interconnected, making the novel fantastically compelling, all culminating in a thrilling and fulfilling ending.  

I cannot recommend this book enough and I feel so inspired enough by Deborah O’Connor’s writing ability to order another of her novels – ‘My Husband’s Son.’ 

Thanks to NetGalley, Bonnier Zaffire Publishing and the author, Deborah O’Connor, for my free ARC of The Dangerous Kind in exchange for an honest review.

My thanks also to Pigeonhole as I participated in their group read which was in stave format and was able to share my thoughts and comments with other readers.

#NetGalley #TheDangerousKind

Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Five Stars

Happy Reading!