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Lady Sunshine by Amy Mason Doan | Blog Tour | Book Review 

Thank you to the publisher, Harlequin Trade Publishing/ Graydon House, for inviting me to be a part of this exciting Blog Tour for Lady Sunshine by Amy Mason Doan, and for the eARC of this title via NetGalley.

Lady Sunshine by Amy Mason Doan

On Sale Date: June 29, 2021

Publisher: Graydon House

ISBN: 9781525804670, 1525804677

Genres: Fiction / Women/ Coming of Age

My rating: 5/5 🧡🧡🧡🧡🧡

Book Summary

ONE ICONIC FAMILY. ONE SUMMER OF SECRETS. THE DAZZLING SPIRIT OF 1970S CALIFORNIA.


For Jackie Pierce, everything changed the summer of 1979, when she spent three months of infinite freedom at her bohemian uncle’s sprawling estate on the California coast. As musicians, artists, and free spirits gathered at The Sandcastle for the season in pursuit of inspiration and communal living, Jackie and her cousin Willa fell into a fast friendship, testing their limits along the rocky beach and in the wild woods… until the summer abruptly ended in tragedy, and Willa silently slipped away into the night.


Twenty years later, Jackie unexpectedly inherits The Sandcastle and returns to the iconic estate for a short visit to ready it for sale. But she reluctantly extends her stay when she learns that, before her death, her estranged aunt had promised an up-and-coming producer he could record a tribute album to her late uncle at the property’s studio. As her musical guests bring the place to life again with their sun-drenched beach days and late-night bonfires, Jackie begins to notice startling parallels to that summer long ago. And when a piece of the past resurfaces and sparks new questions about Willa’s disappearance, Jackie must discover if the dark secret she’s kept ever since is even the truth at all.

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I Thought…

This story is awash with summer, reminding me of those summers of childhood where the season seems endless when school’s out, but time suddenly speeds up as the number of carefree sunny days dwindles with the new autumn lesson term looming.

Jackie Pierce and her cousin Willa are not children this particular summer; they are 17 when the story begins and Lady Sunshine is a story of a summer where everything changes. Twenty years later Jackie returns to the place she left behind, along with her memories of friendship, love and loss.

It’s 1979, and Jackie is spending her last summer of high school at The Sandcastle, the home of her Uncle Graham, a 1960s famous folk singer. Jackie, glad to be escaping from the conformist life she usually follows with her father and stepmother, enjoys the free-spirited circle of artists, musicians and friends that knocks about at her Uncle Graham’s, at The Sandcastle on the California coast. That’s when she meets her cousin, Willa. Twenty years later, Uncle Graham is long dead, as is her cousin Willa. Jackie inherits the house, the grounds, the studio and all the memories they all left behind. She’s back for one final summer, the summer of 1999, to pack everything up and sell The Sandcastle. She decides to lengthen her stay when she finds out that her estranged aunt promised an up-and-coming producer he could record a tribute album to her Uncle Graham at The Sandcastle’s studio.

This is such a fantastic summer read! I could feel the heat of the long-ago summer and hear the sound of the rolling surf so richly described by Amy Mason Doan. The story ambles along at a steady pace, building slowly at the beginning, then once the end of both summers, 1979 and 1999 are on the horizon, the pace picks up as Jackie in her identity of a young woman and then when she is twenty years older, relives the bitter sweetness of the remaining days. I enjoyed the air of mystery that has a major presence throughout the story as much as the complex, nuanced characters. Waiting to discover what that mystery thing might turn out to be added intrigue to this compelling tale. When Jackie finally faces her issues and the past head-on, it facilitates a marvellous ending for this whole emotional journey. Very highly recommended.

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

About the Author

AMY MASON DOAN is the author of The Summer List and Summer Hours. She earned a BA in English from UC Berkeley and an MA in journalism from Stanford University, and has written for The Oregonian, San Francisco Chronicle, and Forbes, among other publications. She grew up in Danville, California, and now lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband and daughter.

Connect with Amy

Author Website * TwitterFacebook * Instagram * PinterestGoodreads * Mailing List

Purchasing Info:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Bookshop
Powell’s
Broadway Books
Libro.fm
Books-a-Million
Target
Walmart
Indigo
Kobo
Apple Books
Google Play

Until Next Time, 

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The House Guests by Emilie Richards | Blog Tour | Book Review 

Thank you to the publisher, Harlequin Trade Publishing/ MIRA Books, for inviting me to be a part of this exciting Blog Tour for The House Guests by Emilie Richards, and for the eARC of this title via NetGalley.

The House Guests by Emilie Richards

Publication Date: June 29, 2021

Publisher: MIRA Books

ISBN: 9780778331865

My rating: 5/5

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Book Summary

USA Today bestselling author Emilie Richards returns with a fan-favorite story.

Teenage Savannah’s father passed away recently and she has been rebelling against her stepmother, Cassie, since. When she happens upon a pouch filled with cash in a parking lot with some new friends she’s trying to impress, she decides to keep it in an act of defiance. When Cassie learns of her crime after Savannah has already spent the money, and learns that the money belonged to a woman, Amber, who has since been evicted along with her teenage son Will because they couldn’t pay the rent after losing the pouch of money, she invites Amber and Will to move in with them. As they become involved in each other’s lives, the teenagers develop a friendship while the mothers do the same. But while Cassie is trying to figure out what happened to her husband in the months before he passed away – why he was becoming distant and draining the funds in their bank accounts, leaving them destitute upon his death – Amber is clearly trying to outrun something dark in her own past.

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I Thought…

When Savannah Westmore’s father dies she and her stepmother, Cassie struggle to cope with his sudden passing. They move to historic Tarpon Springs, Florida, but Savannah dislikes it there and blames her stepmum for her dad’s death. Savannah rebels and her resulting behaviour causes immense distress for sixteen-year-old Will and his mum, Amber Blair. Savannah’s actions result in Amber and Will losing their home, which Cassie feels compelled to rectify and is the catalyst for Cassie’s determination to uncover the secrets behind her husband’s death and financial ruin. She sparks a series of events that could put their lives in danger.

The House Guests is a thrilling and emotionally compelling read. It has multiple layers and there are many mysteries to be unravelled. Very well-written by Emilie Richards, the characters are complex and richly developed. Savannah, the rebellious, angry and troubled teen was of particular interest and I liked the secrecy surrounding Amber. The supporting characters, especially Cassie’s aunt, Roxanne and grandma, Yiayia provide another level of fascinating relationship dynamics. There’s a lot going on and I was thoroughly invested right up to the end. A heartfelt, convincing and very worthwhile novel.

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

About the Author

USA Today bestselling author Emilie Richards has written more than seventy novels. She has appeared on national television and been quoted in Reader’s Digest, right between Oprah and Thomas Jefferson.

Born in Bethesda, Maryland, and raised in St. Petersburg, Florida, Richards has been married for more than forty years to her college sweetheart. She splits her time between Florida and Western New York, where she is currently plotting her next novel.

Connect with Emilie

Author Website * TwitterFacebook * Instagram 

Buy the Book: AmazonAmazon (Print)Barnes & NobleIndieBoundBooks-A-MillionApple BooksGoogle PlayKoboAudible

Until Next Time, 

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The Rooftop Party by Ellen Meister | Blog Tour | Book Review 

Thank you to the publisher, Harlequin Trade Publishing/ MIRA Books, for inviting me to be a part of this exciting Blog Tour for The Rooftop Party by Ellen Meister, and for the eARC of this title via NetGalley.

The Rooftop Party by Ellen Meister

Publication Date: May 25, 2021

Publisher: MIRA Books

ISBN: 9780778309512

My rating: 5/5

🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤

Book Summary

A Host of Trouble…

In this witty and engaging novel, Dana Barry, the Shopping Channel’s star host, stops by the company’s rooftop party to pitch the new CEO her brilliant idea that just might save the flagging business, her job and possibly her love life.

As she chats with the smarmy executive, he backs her into a dark corner. For Dana, it’s a quid pro oh-hell-no. She escapes his lecherous grasp and grabs her drink on her way to the dance floor. Woozy, she blacks out.

When she comes to, the CEO is dead, fallen from the roof. Or was he pushed? And if so, by whom? It’s hard to know, but one thing is certain: Dana was close enough to be suspect.

Sure, she loathed how the creep moved in on her, but she’s no killer. Or is she? Truth is, Dana can’t remember much about those minutes. Now she has to use all her skills to prove her innocence to everyone, including her police detective boyfriend—and herself.

Meister’s latest is fun and breezy, a compelling, suspenseful read that entertains and keeps you guessing.

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I Thought…

Readers first met Dana Barry In Ellen Meister’s ‘Love Sold Separately’ and she’s back in this novel The Rooftop Party. Dana is the Shopping Channel’s most popular host but it’s in financial difficulty though Dana has a few ideas to hopefully rectify this. At their corporate rooftop bash to celebrate twenty five years on air, she heads over to the CEO, Ivan Dennison to talk about a potential new skincare line but he is more interested in her than her suggestions. The next Dana knows of the event is that she passed out, but later learns that Ivan’s body was found on the pavement below.

The Rooftop Party is a delightfully blended rom-com with a mystery that results in a highly entertaining read. The characters are interesting and I found Dana fun and feisty as she strove to figure out what happened to Ivan with the help of her funny new assistant Ashlee St. Pierre, a former pageant girl from Tennessee. I also enjoyed the company of Dana’s New York City homicide detective boyfriend, Ari Marks.

The plot moved along at a steady gallop, and I enjoyed the backstage glimpses at a tv shopping channel. I didn’t read the first book in the series, but I intend to grab a copy though you will still enjoy The Rooftop Party and won’t be lost if, like me, you have yet to read book #1. I really hope there is a third book in the offing!

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

About the Author

Ellen Meister is the author of  several novels including LOVE SOLD SEPARATELY,  DOROTHY PARKER DRANK HERE; FAREWELL, DOROTHY PARKER; THE OTHER LIFE and others. Ellen is also an editor, book coach, ghostwriter, and frequent contributor to Long Island Woman Magazine. She teaches creative writing at Long Island University Hutton House Lectures and previously at Hofstra University. Her latest novel is THE ROOFTOP PARTY. For more info visit ellenmeister.com.

Connect with Ellen

Author Website * TwitterFacebook * Instagram * Goodreads

BUY LINKS:

HarlequinIndiebound | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | Walmart | Google | iBooks | Kobo

Until Next Time, 

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Local Woman Missing by Mary Kubica | Blog Tour | Book Review 

Thank you to the publisher, Harlequin Trade Publishing/ Park Row, for inviting me to be a part of this exciting Blog Tour for Local Woman Missing by Mary Kubica, and for the eARC of this title via NetGalley.

Local Woman Missing

Mary Kubica

On Sale Date: May 18, 2021

9780778389446, 0778389448

Hardcover

$27.99 USD, $34.99 CAD

Fiction / Thrillers / Psychological

352 pages

My rating: 5/5

🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤

Book Summary

People don’t just disappear without a trace…
Shelby Tebow is the first to go missing. Not long after, Meredith Dickey and her six-year-old daughter, Delilah, vanish just blocks away from where Shelby was last seen, striking fear into their once-peaceful community. Are these incidents connected? After an elusive search that yields more questions than answers, the case eventually goes cold.
Now, eleven years later, Delilah shockingly returns. Everyone wants to know what happened to her, but no one is prepared for what they’ll find…
In this smart and chilling thriller, master of suspense and New York Times bestselling author Mary Kubica takes domestic secrets to a whole new level, showing that some people will stop at nothing to keep the truth buried.

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I Thought…

Local Woman Missing is another cracking thriller by Mary Kubica. This is my second novel by this bestseller author though I have had a few of her other books on my e-reader for quite some time, specifically, When the Lights Go Out, and Every Last Lie.

Local Woman Missing sees Shelby Tebow vanish, shortly followed by Meredith Dickey and her six-year-old daughter Delilah. When Delilah returns to the quiet Chicago neighbourhood eleven years later her family and the local community start to ask searching questions.

This thriller, with its mesmerising readability, is told from different perspectives; those of Delilah, Meredith, Kate, who is a neighbour of Meredith, and Leo, who is Meredith’s son. Some viewpoints are from the past and others are in the present. Meredith is a doula and yoga teacher and when she disappears Kate is hit hard by her absence and decides to look into Meredith and Delilah’s vanishing. Leo is struggling to believe that is his sister has returned as she is nothing like she was eleven years ago, and Leo is slow to trust that Delilah is his sister.

Mary Kubica’s novel follows a very intriguing, multi-layered story. Dark and chilling it is creative, inspired and the writing is flawless. Gripped by the perfect plotting and pacing, I found the suspense riveting. The author’s writing style is impressive and noteworthy and she is a gifted storyteller who can provide readers with thrills, sophistication and a story packed with substance. I like the way the story evolved, and for me, Local Woman Missing is a very highly recommended read that will be of interest to many readers.

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

About the Author:

Mary Kubica is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of six novels, including THE GOOD GIRL, PRETTY BABY, DON’T YOU CRY, EVERY LAST LIE, WHEN THE LIGHTS GO OUT, and THE OTHER MRS. A former high school history teacher, Mary holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, in History and American Literature. She lives outside of Chicago with her husband and two children. Her last novel THE OTHER MRS. was an instant New York Times bestseller; is coming soon to Netflix; was a LibraryReads pick for February 2020; praised by the New York Times; and highly recommended by Entertainment Weekly, People, The Week, Marie Claire, Bustle, HelloGiggles, Goodreads, PopSugar, BookRiot, HuffingtonPost, First for Women, Woman’s World, and more. Mary’s novels have been translated into over thirty languages and have sold over two million copies worldwide. She’s been described as “a helluva storyteller,” (Kirkus Reviews) and “a writer of vice-like control,” (Chicago Tribune), and her novels have been praised as “hypnotic” (People) and “thrilling and illuminating” (Los Angeles Times).  LOCAL WOMAN MISSING is her seventh novel.

Social Links: Author WebsiteTwitter * Instagram * Facebook * Goodreads

Buy Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Local-Woman-Missing-Mary-Kubica/dp/0778389448/ 

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/local-woman-missing-mary-kubica/1137387568  

Bookshop: https://bookshop.org/books/local-woman-missing/9780778389446 

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780778389446 

Libro.fm: https://libro.fm/audiobooks/9781488211690-local-woman-missing 

Books-A-Million: https://www.booksamillion.com/p/Local-Woman-Missing/Mary-Kubica/9780778389446?id=8051055467945# 

Target: https://www.target.com/p/local-woman-missing-by-mary-kubica-hardcover/-/A-81225904 

Walmart: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Local-Woman-Missing-Original-ed-Hardcover-9780778389446/700252600 

Indigo: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/local-woman-missing-a-novel/9780778389446-item.html 

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/local-woman-missing 

AppleBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/local-woman-missing/id1524947457 

Google Play: https://www.google.com/books/edition/Local_Woman_Missing/sKazzQEACAAJ?hl=en 

Until Next Time, 

Featured

Just Get Home by Bridget Foley | Blog Tour | Book Review 

Thank you to the publisher, Harlequin Trade Publishing/ MIRA Books, for inviting me to be a part of this exciting Blog Tour for Just Get Home by Bridget Foley, and for the eARC of this title via NetGalley.

Just Get Home by Bridget Foley

Publication Date: April 13, 2021

Publisher: MIRA Books

ISBN: 9780778331599

My rating: 5/5

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Book Summary

When the Big One earthquake hits LA, a single mother and a teen in the foster system are brought together by their circumstances and an act of violence in order to survive the wrecked streets of the city, working together to just get home.

Dessa, a single mom, is enjoying a rare night out when a devastating earthquake strikes. Roads and overpasses crumble, cell towers are out everywhere, and now she must cross the ruined city to get back to her three-year-old daughter, not even knowing whether she’s dead or alive. Danger in the streets escalates, as looting and lawlessness erupts. When she witnesses a moment of violence but isn’t able to intervene, it nearly puts Dessa over the edge.

Fate throws Dessa a curveball when the victim of the crime—a smart-talking 15-year-old foster kid named Beegie—shows up again in the role of savior, linking the pair together. Beegie is a troubled teen with a relentless sense of humor and resilient spirit that enables them both to survive. Both women learn to rely on each other in ways they never imagined possible, to permit vulnerability and embrace the truth of their own lives.

A propulsive page-turner grounded by unforgettable characters and a deep emotional core, JUST GET HOME will strike a chord with mainstream thriller readers for its legitimately heart-pounding action scenes, and with book club audiences looking for weighty, challenging content.

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I Thought…

Dessa, mum to three-year-old Olivia, hasn’t had a night out for ages. She receives an invitation to go for dinner from her friends Heidi, Gretchen and Laurel. The women met in Venice Beach, California, while they were students at University. The evening is a hen night for Heidi who is soon to be married and after their meal, they head off to a club for dancing. Sipping her drink and realising she is drinking her cocktail more quickly than she should be she heads outside and takes a call from her babysitter, who relays the news that Olivia is sick. Dessa rings Joe, Olivia’s father and starts to walk home when a devastating earthquake strikes. The earthquake has immediate calamitous effects that threaten to overwhelm Dessa, but she remains focused on getting to Olivia. Meanwhile, streetwise Beegie, fifteen, wakes up in a world where everything has turned white and someone is calling her Queen Elizabeth. She had been travelling on a bus to avoid the foster home she lives in but is badly treated in the hours immediately following the earthquake. Both Dessa and Beegie continue to experience gross abomination as they deal with the earthquake’s after-effects.

Set In LA, main protagonist Dessa, a single mother working full time, has a complicated relationship with Olivia’s dad. The other main character is spirited teenager Beegie who is wise beyond her years and has been in many foster homes. A lot of hurt has arrived at her door from her various foster caregivers, and she is a traumatised young woman. The reader meets her as she is deciding to take the night off from her domineering foster mother, Barb. Beegie has been through some dreadful experiences in her young life and endured other life-changing events such as the death of those dear to her.

Dessa and Beegie meet and support each other throughout the days after the earthquake. A novel about relationships, some weighty topics are mixed into the melting pot and I couldn’t put this book down. There was always something going on, along with some truly terrifying episodes and Bridget Foley’s portrayal of Beegie and Dessa’s gamut of emotions were so well portrayed that I felt as though I could envision what these characters were living through. A super, compelling, engrossing and highly affecting novel that, in my opinion, is a must-read.

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

About the Author

Originally from Colorado, Bridget Foley attended NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and UCLA’s School of Theater, Film & Television. She worked as an actor and screenwriter before becoming a novelist. She now lives a fiercely creative life with her family in Boise, Idaho.

Connect with Bridget

Website | Instagram | Goodreads

BUY LINKS:

HarlequinAmazon | Apple Books | B&N | BAM | Google Play | Kobo | Target | Walmart

Until Next Time, 

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Tell No Lies by Allison Brennan | Blog Tour | Book Review 

Thank you to the publisher, Harlequin Trade Publishing/ MIRA Books, for inviting me to be a part of this exciting Blog Tour for Tell No Lies by Allison Brennan, and for the eARC of this title via NetGalley.

Tell No Lies  by Allison Brennan

Publication Date: March 30, 2021

Publisher: MIRA Books

ISBN: 9780778331469

My rating: 5/5

🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤

Book Summary

New York Times bestselling author Allison Brennan’s newest thriller again features an edgy young female LAPD detective and an ambitious special agent, both part of a mobile FBI unit that is brought in to investigate the unsolved murder of a college activist and its alleged ties to high stakes crime in the desert Southwest.

Something mysterious is killing the wildlife in the desert hills just south of Tucson, Arizona. When Emma Perez, a college-intern-turned activist, sets out to collect her own evidence, she too ends up dead. Local law enforcement seems slow to get involved. That’s when the mobile FBI unit goes undercover to infiltrate the town and the copper refinery located there in search of possible leads. Costa and Quinn find themselves scouring the desolate landscape that keeps on giving up clues to something much darker—greed, child trafficking, other killings. As the body count continues to add up, it’s clear they have stumbled on more than they bargained for. Now they must figure out who is at the heart of this mayhem and stop them before more innocent lives are lost.

Brennan’s latest novel brims with complex characters and an ever-twisting plotline, a compelling thriller that delivers.

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I Thought…

Golly, this impressive second instalment in Allison Brennan’s series centring on the FBI’s Mobile Response Team turned out to be a little gem! 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 in Tell No Lies the team is undercover in Patagonia, Arizona as they investigate a murder that leads to the local copper refinery possibly dumping toxic waste in the desert. FBI special agent Mathias (Matt) Costa has LAPD Detective on loan to the FBI, Kara Quinn working as a bartender in the local bar where the refinery workers and townies socialise. Michael Harris, a former Navy SEAL, takes a job at the refinery and the refinery owner’s son becomes an informant. When another dead body is found, the case becomes much more complicated as they realise the quiet town has links to several other criminal activities.

Kara is such a fiercely independent, strong and unique protagonist with a strong sense of justice. There is chemistry between her and Matt, and they also share a mutual respect for one another however, their growing connection is not the main focus of this book. Matt himself is shrewd, level-headed and makes a marvellous leader.

The mystery element in Tell No Lies is magnificent and totally engaging. The tight time-frame keeps the plot rolling, with no opportunity to become mired in tediousness. The procedural aspects are solid with the coordination and teamwork of the investigators coming through winningly. Tell No Lies is wonderfully written in a style I relish and I was in my element reading this dark and gritty tale. This is a great second instalment in what has so far turned out to be a stellar series. I enjoyed Tell No Lies so much that I’m reading the books from Allison Brennan’s other series and cannot wait for her next in this one.

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

About the Author:

ALLISON BRENNAN is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of over thirty novels. She has been nominated for Best Paperback Original Thriller by International Thriller Writers and the Daphne du Maurier Award. A former consultant in the California State Legislature, Allison lives in Arizona with her husband, five kids and assorted pets.

Social Links: Author WebsiteTwitter * Instagram * Facebook * Goodreads

Buy Links:

Bookshop.org: https://bookshop.org/books/tell-no-lies-9780778331469/9780778331469

Indie Bound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780778331469

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/tell-no-lies-allison-brennan/1136909250;jsessionid=BE5869D36ACCCEF44F21FF4A05BC5D62.prodny_store01-atgap04?ean=9780778331469 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0778331466/httpwwwalli0f-20

Books A Million: https://www.booksamillion.com/product/9780778331469

Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B087JTYYSY/httpwwwalli0f-20

Nook: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/tell-no-lies-allison-brennan/1136909250?ean=9781488077142

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/tell-no-lies-16

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Allison_Brennan_Tell_No_Lies?id=RHDeDwAAQBAJ

Ibooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/tell-no-lies/id1509698872

Until Next Time, 

Featured

When I Was You by Amber Garza | Blog Tour | Book Review 

Thank you to the publisher, Harlequin Trade Publishing/ MIRA Books, for inviting me to be a part of this exciting Blog Tour for When I Was You by Amber Garza, and for the eARC of this title via NetGalley.

When I Was You by Amber Garza

Publication Date: August 25, 2020

Publisher: MIRA Books

ISBN: 9780778361046

My rating: 5/5

🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤

Book Summary

YOU meets FATAL ATTRACTION in this up-all-night psychological thriller about a lonely empty-nester’s growing obsession with a young mother who shares her name.

It all begins on an ordinary fall morning, when Kelly Medina gets a call from her son’s pediatrician to confirm her upcoming “well-baby” appointment. It’s a cruel mistake; her son left for college a year ago, and Kelly has never felt so alone. The receptionist quickly apologizes: there’s another mother in town named Kelly Medina, and she must have gotten their numbers switched.

But Kelly can’t stop thinking about the woman who shares her name. Lives in her same town. Has a son she can still hold, and her whole life ahead of her. She can’t help looking for her: at the grocery store, at the gym, on social media. When Kelly just happens to bump into the single mother outside that pediatrician’s office, it’s simple curiosity getting the better of her.

Their unlikely friendship brings Kelly a renewed sense of purpose, taking care of this young woman and her adorable baby boy. But that friendship quickly turns to obsession, and when one Kelly disappears, well, the other one may know why.

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I Thought…

There are two women named Kelly Medina living in the town of Folsom. The older Kelly is married to Rafael who is a Professor and they have a son, Aaron, aged 19 and at college. One day she takes a call from the paediatrician’s office about her son’s appointment. It soon becomes apparent that an error has been made and the two Kelly Medinas have been mixed up. But the older Kelly, with time on her hands now that Aaron has left home, decides to turn up for the younger Kelly’s appointment and the two women’s stories follow.

I devoured When I Was You and I flew through its pages, fully immersed in the obsessiveness of the older Kelly Medina and her fixation on the young mother and her baby, Sullivan. Her determination to befriend baby Sullivan’s mother and wriggle her way into their lives was shocking, but believable. With Amber Garza‘s excellent execution, the frequent surprises, alongside an extremely chilling atmosphere, events really turned disturbing in the second half. Written with precisely the right amount of drive resulting in a powerful, and engaging tale, When I Was You was an absolute pleasure to read.

This is the first novel I have read by Amber Garza and I am excited to see what she compiles next. For me, a fabulous, standout novel.

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

About the Author:

Amber Garza has had a passion for the written word since she was a child making books out of notebook paper and staples. Her hobbies include reading and singing. Coffee and wine are her drinks of choice (not necessarily in that order). She writes while blaring music, and talks about her characters like they’re real people. She lives with her husband and two kids in Folsom, California, which is—no joke—home to another Amber Garza.

Social Links: Author WebsiteTwitter * Instagram * Facebook * Goodreads

Purchase at:  HarlequinIndieboundAmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-Million / TargetWalmart / Google / iBooks / Kobo

Until Next Time, 

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Someone’s Listening by Seraphina Nova Glass | 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 Someone’s Listening by Seraphina Nova Glass, and for the eARC of this title via NetGalley.

Someone’s Listening by Seraphina Nova Glass

Publication Date: July 28, 2020

Publisher: Graydon House Books

ISBN: 9781525836749

My rating: 5/5

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Book Summary

You’re not alone. Someone’s waiting. Someone’s watching…Someone’s listening.

 In SOMEONE’S LISTENING (Graydon House Books; July 28; $16.99) Dr. Faith Finley has everything she’s ever wanted: she’s a renowned psychologist, a radio personality—host of the wildly popular “Someone’s Listening with Dr. Faith Finley”—and a soon-to-be bestselling author. She’s young, beautiful, and married to the perfect man, Liam.

Of course Liam was at Faith’s book launch with her. But after her car crashes on the way home and she’s pulled from the wreckage, nobody can confirm that Liam was with her at the party. The police claim she was alone in car, and they don’t believe her when she says otherwise. Perhaps that’s understandable, given the horrible thing Faith was accused of doing a few weeks ago.

 And then the notes start arriving—the ones literally ripped from the pages of Faith’s own self-help book on leaving an abusive relationship. Ones like “Secure your new home. Consider new window and door locks, an alarm system, and steel doors…”

Where is Liam? Is his disappearance connected to the scandal that ruined Faith’s life? Who is sending the notes? Faith’s very life will depend on finding the answers.

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I Thought…

Someone’s Listening is an extremely suspenseful story and kicks off with a tantalising prologue. The reader is first introduced to Faith Finley, a talented psychologist with a flourishing career, a bestselling author and the host of a popular local radio program, Someone’s Listening. One icy winter’s night she is travelling home from a book launch party, then wakes up in hospital having been in a car crash. Happily married Faith asks for her husband Liam, but he appears to have vanished… into thin air. The police aren’t listening to Faith’s concerns, but then she starts receiving threatening messages.

This compelling début had me hooked from the very first paragraph, and Faith made a very good, if unreliable protagonist. In this chaotic whirl of lies and duplicity, the abundant wicked twists and turns kept me guessing from the start. The complex characters and arresting dialogue helped to make Someone’s Listening a riveting read. For me, the cherry topping was the obvious ability of Seraphina Nova Glass as she probed ever deeper into the psyches of her characters, creating some fascinating, though alarmingly troubled souls. I read it in one day and was left dumbfounded after the astounding, fast-paced conclusion. Very highly recommended to fans of the genre.

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

About the Author:

Seraphina Nova Glass is a professor and Playwright-in-Residence at the University of Texas-Arlington, where she teaches Film Studies and Playwriting. She holds an MFA in playwriting from Smith College, and has optioned multiple screenplays to Hallmark and Lifetime. Someone’s Listening is her first novel.

Social Links: Author WebsiteTwitter * Instagram * Facebook * Goodreads

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

Until Next Time, 

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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,