Posted in 2020 Reviews Cloak and Dagger Challenge E-Book Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Ladies of the Lake by Ken Corday #Review / #Giveaway

On Flashback Fridays I will share with you
the books I was not able to review
when they were first released that have been screaming at me
from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.

Ladies of the Lake
Mystery/Thriller
Publisher: Beaufort Books (July 22, 2015)
Hardcover: 300 pages
ISBN-10: 0825307848
ISBN-13: 978-0825307843
Kindle ASIN: B084JLGJSP

Getting away with murder. Seems unlikely, but in the gated community of Avalon it’s what’s in style.

 

It all starts with Hudson’s accidental decapitation. It was a terrible accident. He was drunk and in the middle of a fight with his second wife. They both pressed the garage door button at the same time. The LAPD didn’t give it a second thought. Instead of grieving, his wife breathes free air again. She is a rich woman with freedom. The other wives secretly envy her.

 

From the outside, Avalon seems like the ideal place to live; full of rich men and beautiful women. Six couples form a close-knit friendship; the men all golf together, the women all shop together, and their six children all skip school together. But the wives begin to resent feeling like possessions and realize that the men become crueler every day.

 

When more husbands start dying, the so-called “Ladies of the Lake” find themselves under suspicion from the LAPD and their own children.

 

The six children try to uncover their parents’ secrets before the handsome Detective Daniels can discover what is truly going on behind closed gates.

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I watch Days of Our Lives every day but I just recently found this book on my Kindle. I can’t believe I didn’t read it sooner. It has a real soap opera feel which should be no surprise based on the author.

The rich and beautiful people of Los Angeles have their own set of issues but the “Ladies of the Lake” take things to the extreme as their husbands start to die off one by one. Granted the husbands weren’t real prizes beyond their money but how many freak accidents are the police going to believe. Even the “Ladies” children are asking questions.

_____________

Told from multiple points of view this story introduces six elite women and the detective trying to get to the bottom of their husband’s deaths. Like a true soap opera, he even gets involved with one of them. This method allows readers to meet all the characters and enables them to get to know the woman enough to see their tormented sides behind their socialite facades.

I found this book to be a fun escape filled with drama and some romance too. The author’s soapy writing style is very apparent as he twists murder up with some humor. There isn’t really a mystery because the readers know most of what is going on. It is just the community, the good detective, and the children who are in the dark. I did like the surprise ending.

The book was made into a short 4 episode series with some of my favorite Days of Our Lives stars. I hope to watch it soon.

Ladies of the Lake is a great read for soap opera fans and those who like a fast, entertaining read with some twists.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

About the Author

Ken Corday was only a teenager when his parents, Ted and Betty Corday, first created NBC’s daytime drama Days of our Lives in 1965. A year after the show’s inception, Ted passed away, and it was up to Betty to carry on the show. Ken became his mother’s support system as she taught him everything he would need to know to continue the family legacy.

Ken received his bachelor of arts in music from the University of California, Santa Cruz, before receiving a master’s degree in music from San Jose State University.

Prior to taking over Days of our Lives as executive producer in 1985, Ken worked on the show for almost ten years, first as a composer, then as an assistant producer, and finally as a producer.

He has received two Emmy Awards for Music. He has also received eight nominations for an Emmy Award for Best Daytime Drama. Days of our Lives won the Emmy Award for Best Daytime Drama in 1978 and 2013, and Ted and Betty Corday received a Lifetime Achievement Emmy Award in 1995.

Ken Corday lives in Los Angeles with his wife and three children.

I am giving 1 Kindle copy away!
The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
Book will be sent from Amazon.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

If you share the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive 5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End December 11, 2020, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

*This book was from my private collection.

Posted in 2020 Reviews Cloak and Dagger Challenge E-Book Challenge New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cold Wind: A Mystery (Alaska Wild Series) by Paige Shelton #Review@MinotaurBooks

This book will be released on December 8, 2020.


Cold Wind: A Mystery (Alaska Wild Series)
Suspense/Mystery – Some Explicit Language
2nd in Series
Setting – Alaska
Publisher: Minotaur Books (December 8, 2020)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1250295319
ISBN-13: 978-1250295316
Kindle ASIN: B084M26ST6

Beth Rivers is still in Alaska. The unidentified man who kidnapped her in her home of St. Louis hasn’t been found yet, so she’s not ready to go back.

 

But as October comes to a close, Benedict is feeling more and more like her new home. Beth has been working on herself: She’s managed to get back to writing, and she’s enjoying these beautiful months between summer and winter in Alaska.

 

Then, everything in Benedict changes after a mudslide exposes a world that had been hidden for years. Two mud-covered, silent girls appear, and a secret trapper’s house is found in the woods. The biggest surprise, though, is a dead and frozen woman’s body in the trapper’s shed. No one knows who she is, but the man who runs the mercantile, Randy, seems to be in the middle of all the mysteries.

 

Unable to escape her journalistic roots, Beth is determined to answer the questions that keep arising: Are the mysterious girls and the frozen body connected? Can Randy possibly be involved? And―most importantly―can she solve this mystery before the cold wind sweeping over the town and the townspeople descends for good?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Beth Rivers is still hiding out in Alaska because the man who kidnapped her has yet to be apprehended. She is getting more comfortable in her surroundings and is writing again.

There was a recent mudslide that has shaken the town up a bit. Two young girls are found. They can hear but they don’t talk. Their mud-covered state leads everyone to believe they have been out in the elements awhile. The mudslide also opened up a path to reveal a house in the woods and a shack with a dead body. The woman is frozen stiff and while it is chilly in Alaska it is not cold enough to freeze a body solid and keep it frozen.

Is there a connection between the woman and the girls? or just crazy incidents happening at the same time? Beth is very drawn to the girls and needs answers, so she inserts herself into another investigation that could make living in the lower 48 staying a step ahead of a kidnapper safer than the wild winds blowing through Benedict Alaska.


I was thrilled to receive an early copy of the first book in this series, Thin Ice, and have been waiting somewhat impatiently for this book but let me tell you it was worth the wait.

Just like Thin Ice, Cold Wind grabbed me right away and the book was impossible to put down. Many authors have a descriptive writing style but Ms. Shelton’s is unique in that she takes us on the scene like we are watching a movie. She is able to paint pictures with her words without getting overly wordy. The scenes came alive in my mind in living color and the story just flowed. There are several suspenseful scenes intermixed with some milder ones but the pages seemed to fly at breakneck speed. I had to know what was going to happen next.

I was very impressed with the way Beth is evolving as she remembers more about the trauma she survived that had her landing in Alaska. She really is a strong woman because life in Alaska isn’t easy especially after all she has been through. She is surrounded by a very interesting group of supporting characters. We met several more in this story. Some who escaped to Alaska for their own reasons.

Cold Wind actually gave me shivers and chills. Beth Rivers is a powerful character and I am so enthusiastic about this series and to see her story continue.

To really appreciate this story you should read Thin Ice first to understand Beth’s journey, plus it is an awesome story too! Look for Cold Wind on my Best Reads of 2020 list.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Read my review of Thin Ice here.

About The Author

PAIGE SHELTON had a nomadic childhood as her father’s job as a football coach took the family to seven different towns before she was even twelve years old. After college at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, she moved to Salt Lake City where she thought she’d only stay a few years, but she fell in love with the mountains and a great guy who became her husband. After a couple of decades in Utah, she and her family recently moved to Arizona. She also writes the Scottish Bookshop Mystery series.

Paige Shelton is also the New York Times Bestselling author of the Farmers’ Market Mysteries and the Country Cooking School Mysteries. She’s lived in lots of places but currently resides in Arizona. Find out more at www.paigeshelton.com


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted in 2020 Reviews Cloak and Dagger Challenge E-Book Challenge Literary Escapes New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Fields’ Guide to Dirty Money (The Poppy Fields Adventures) by Julie Mulhern #Review


Fields’ Guide to Dirty Money (The Poppy Fields Adventures)
Mystery/Suspense
6th in Series
Setting – Cayman Islands
Publisher: Independently published (September 24, 2020)
Paperback: 218 pages
ISBN-13: 979-8690016531
Kindle ASIN: B0867JSW64

Poppy Fields, social influencer and secret spy, is on Grand Cayman. Her mission? Maid of honor at her mother’s wedding to Russian billionaire Yurgi Prokorhov. No surprise, Chariss Carlton is a difficult and demanding bride.

 

When Poppy witnesses a murder, her days change from irritating to dangerous. She and her partner Thor (real name Mark Stone—but a dead-ringer for a Norse god) are tasked with catching a killer and shuttering a billion dollar money laundering scheme.

 

Between bombs, bridal showers, high-speed car chases, a missing wedding planner, and a femme fatale with her eye on Thor, it will be a miracle if Poppy makes it to the church on time.

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Bombs, bullets, a famous bridezilla, and more! Can Poppy handle it all?

Set on Grand Cayman, Poppy, and Thor, I mean Mark, have arrived for her mom’s wedding and all the pre-wedding festivities. But it isn’t long before Poppy finds herself in hot water. Soon Mr. Brown is involved and in addition to all her bridal duties, she and Mark are on a case chasing down a huge money-laundering scheme and trying to catch a murderer. Oh, and the wedding planner has been abducted. You know, just a normal week in the life of Poppy Fields.


I have loved this entire series but Fields’ Guide to Dirty Money has to be my favorite.

Chariss and Yurgi are getting married and guests are arriving from Hollywood and Russia to celebrate the big event. Unfortunately, they are not the only ones arriving on Grand Cayman Island.  Drug dealers, money launderers, and a murderer have joined the party.

The author has continued the fantastic character development of the core characters while introducing great characters readers love to hate.  Poppy is getting more confident and the powers that be, start to notice. Her relationship with her Thor is heating up. I just hope they get some real alone time together soon. Yurgi was my favorite character this time. An incredibly wealthy, strong, patient man, that truly loves Chariss and all her drama while becoming a true friend to Poppy. He covers for her with her mother and spares no expense to keep her safe.

Again, the story is action-packed and impossible to put down. It is a roller coaster ride from start to finish.

Set in the idyllic Cayman Islands, this story made for a wonderful virtual vacation as the weather here gets brisk and windy. I curled up with a blanket and took off on another entertaining adventure with Poppy and her family, friends, and enemies.

Julie Mulhern is a terrific storyteller. Fields’ Guide to Dirty Money and this whole series are must-reads for me. Each book can be read on its own but I recommend you read the series from the start in order for maximum enjoyment.

Look for this book on my Best Reads of 2020. It receives my Paradise Rating, just like every other book in this series. You truly can’t go wrong with a book by this author.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

 

Read my reviews of  Fields’ Guide to Assassins
here,  
Fields’ Guide to Voodoo here,
Fields’ Guide to Fog hereFields’ Guide to Abduction here,
and Fields’ Guide to Pharaohs here.

About the Author

Julie Mulhern is the USA Today bestselling author of The Country Club Murders and the Poppy Fields Adventures She is a Kansas City native who grew up on a steady diet of Agatha Christie. She spends her spare time whipping up gourmet meals for her family, working out at the gym and finding new ways to keep her house spotlessly clean–and she’s got an active imagination. Truth is–she’s an expert at calling for take-out, she grumbles about walking the dog and the dust bunnies under the bed have grown into dust lions.

 

Book 1 – Fields’ Guide to Abduction – Is available for FREE!!!

Also by Julie Mulhern


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted in 2020 Reviews Cloak and Dagger Challenge E-Book Challenge Finish The Series Challenge Literary Escapes You Read How Many Books Challenge

Fields’ Guide to Pharaohs (The Poppy Fields Adventures) by Julie Mulhern #Review


Fields’ Guide to Pharaohs (The Poppy Fields Adventures)
Mystery/Suspense
5th in Series
Setting – Egypt
Publisher: J & M Press (March 31, 2020)
Paperback: 238 pages
ISBN-13: 979-8632308649
Kindle ASIN: B082Z9FLFX

Poppy Fields, Hollywood IT girl and super-secret spy, travels to Egypt looking for answers.

 

But amidst assassination attempts, money launderers, and missing treasure, answers are hard to come by.

 

Poppy must trust new allies, forgive old wrongs, and find a forgotten pharaoh or the next tomb she enters may be her own.

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Usually, trouble finds Poppy Fields but this time she goes looking for trouble. To get the answers she needs she flies off to Egypt by herself. Mark aka Thor can’t go with her but he hooks her up with Ethan Alexander from the C.I.A. Poppy isn’t sure if she can trust him but when bullets start to she realizes she doesn’t have a choice.


This story is a little different because all the normal supporting characters, Mark, Mia, Chariss, Yurgi, and even Consuela are not around to assist Poppy through all her trials and tribulations. Okay, some do show up in the nick of time near the end of the book, but Poppy really had to hold her own before that with just a couple of surprising assists.

She was there on her own private personal mission but she runs into someone that her boss, Mr. Brown is very interested in. He puts her on the case of surveilling his target until he can send another agent to help.  This adds a nice twist but also puts a huge target on her back. The action is truly non-stop with the perfect amount of Julie Mulhern’s signature humor.

I really enjoyed the way the author describes everywhere Poppy travels, from the hotels, the ship on the Nile, the desert, the temples, the tombs, the marketplace, and everywhere in between. Of course, Poppy wasn’t on your typical vacay but it was an incredibly fun virtual trip to the home of the Pharaohs.

Like every other book in this series, the book was just impossible to put down. I would have read the entire thing in one evening but my breast cancer therapy had my eyes slamming sooner than I would have liked.

I absolutely loved this Poppy Fields adventure. Julie Mulhern never disappoints. Like the 4 previous books, Fields’ Guide to Pharaohs receives my Paradise rating. To get know Poppy and all the other characters I recommend reading them all in order and enjoy all their adventures! You can thank me later 😀

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

I am reading Fields’ Guide to Dirty Money right now.
Watch for my review next week!

Read my reviews of  Fields’ Guide to Assassins
here, 
Fields’ Guide to Voodoo here,
Fields’ Guide to Fog here. Field’s Guide to Abduction here

About the Author

Julie Mulhern is the USA Today bestselling author of The Country Club Murders and the Poppy Fields Adventures She is a Kansas City native who grew up on a steady diet of Agatha Christie. She spends her spare time whipping up gourmet meals for her family, working out at the gym and finding new ways to keep her house spotlessly clean–and she’s got an active imagination. Truth is–she’s an expert at calling for take-out, she grumbles about walking the dog and the dust bunnies under the bed have grown into dust lions.

 

Also by Julie Mulhern



*This book is in my private collection, purchased from Amazon.
Posted in 2020 Reviews Cloak and Dagger Challenge E-Book Challenge New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

The Request by David Bell – Review @BerkleyMystery @DavidBellNovels


The Request
Psychological Thriller
Setting – Kentucky
Publisher: Berkley (June 30, 2020)
Hardcover: 416 pages
ISBN-10: 0440000890
ISBN-13: 978-0440000891
Kindle ASIN: B07YRTKGKX

When a man agrees to do a favor for a friend, he gets more than he bargained for as he becomes embroiled in a woman’s murder in this new thriller from the USA Today bestselling author of Layover.

Ryan Francis has it all—great job, wonderful wife, beautiful child—and he loves posting photos of his perfect life on social media. Until the night his friend Blake asks him to break into a woman’s home to retrieve incriminating items that implicate Blake in an affair. Ryan refuses to help, but when Blake threatens to reveal Ryan’s darkest secret—which could jeopardize everything in Ryan’s life—Ryan has no choice but to honor Blake’s request.

When he arrives at the woman’s home, Ryan is shocked to find her dead—and just as shocked to realize he knows her. Then his phone chimes, revealing a Facebook friend request from the woman. With police sirens rapidly approaching, Ryan flees, wondering why his friend was setting him up for murder.

Determined to keep his life intact and to clear his name, Ryan must find the real murderer—but solving the crime may lead him closer to home than he ever could have imagined.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

You just need to look at Ryan Francis’ social media posts to know he is happy. A new baby, a loving wife, and a great job. Then his friend Blake makes a request. A request that could cost him everything so at first, he refuses. Then Blake threatens to make public a deep, dark, secret he and Ryan vowed to keep forever. Blake keeps pushing until Ryan finally accepts his request.

Blake wants Ryan to break into a woman’s house to remove some things that would prove Blake was having an affair. Instead, he finds the lady of the house dead on the floor and realizes that he knows her. When he instantly receives a Facebook friend request from the woman he freaks out. Did Blake set him up? He hears the sirens and knows he has to get out of the house, find Blake, and find out what the hell is going on.


Secrets, blackmail, murder, The Request has them all and more.

Bell continues to create interesting characters, those we root for, instigators we grow to hate, and a few that keep us on the fence until all the twists and secrets are revealed.

David Bell has penned a compelling mystery where he turns the lives of people who could be your next-door neighbors inside out. The past comes back to bite in unexpected ways. The pace is fluid as it picks up with almost every turn of the page.

I anxiously await each new title from David Bell and this one was sure worth the wait. I was unsure where he was going to take these characters when I started reading. I thought “the request” was a little strange but Mr. Bell quickly drew me in with the first twist and kept me on the edge of my seat throughout.  The ending was amazing! I never saw it coming.  I was totally entertained the entire way.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

 

You can find out more about David Bell and his books visit his webpage here




Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted in 2020 Reviews Cloak and Dagger Challenge Giveaways Read The Printed Word Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

An Exquisite Corpse (Art of Murder Mysteries) by Helen A. Harrison #Review / #Giveaway

An Exquisite Corpse (Art of Murder Mysteries)
Historical Mystery
1st in Series
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press (July 7, 2020)
Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 1728214009
ISBN-13: 978-1728214009
Kindle ASIN: B085FTFVC7

Murder is a work of art…

 

When the acclaimed Cuban painter Wifredo Lam turns up dead in his Greenwich Village studio, officers Juanita Diaz and Brian Fitzgerald of the NYPD, must investigate the crime. But what they find is much more gruesome than they ever could have imagined.

 

Suspicion soon falls on a tight-knit circle of Surrealist refugees who fled Nazi-occupied Europe during World War II, and Diaz and Fitzgerald must traverse the city, from Chinatown’s underworld to Spanish Harlem’s gangland, to find the truth. Did one of the artists’ bizarre parlor games turn deadly? Or is there something even more sinister afoot?

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

A group of Surrealist refugees has taken up residence in New York after fleeing Europe during World War II. When one of their group, Cuban painter Wifredo Lam is found dead, NYPD officers Brian Fitzgerald and Juanita Diaz catch the case and uncover some eerie things that take them all around New York in search of the truth.

______

Set in the 1940’s I found the author gave a good sense of time and place but there were so many characters to keep track of I found myself lost at times. As the story went on most of the characters were given more definition but I just couldn’t really identify with any of them. They all had their own agendas and not one felt genuine.

The basis of the story was interesting and multifaceted with several twists and I did enjoy the chase for the truth but was disappointed somewhat by the conclusion. I had never heard of an “exquisite corpse” and did enjoy learning about a different way of drawing.

While I had issues with this book, book two in this series features the same detectives and the death of Jackson Pollock and I may just have to give that book a try.

 

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Helen A. Harrison, a former art reviewer and feature writer for The New York Times and visual arts commentator for National Public Radio, is the director of the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center in East Hampton, New York, and an authority on 20th century American art. A native of New York City with a bachelor’s degree in studio art from Adelphi University, she also attended the Art Students League, the Brooklyn Museum Art School and Hornsey College of Art in London before receiving a master’s degree in art history from Case Western Reserve University. Among her many publications are exhibition catalogs, essays, book chapters, reviews and articles, and several non-fiction books, including Hamptons Bohemia: Two Centuries of Artists and Writers on the Beach, co-authored with Constance Ayers Denne, and monographs on Larry Rivers and Jackson Pollock. She and her husband, the artist Roy Nicholson, live in Sag Harbor, New York. www.helenharrison.net

 


Thanks to the publisher I have 1 copy to give away!
The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Add this book to your WANT TO READ shelf on GoodReads for 3 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

If you share the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End June 30, 2020, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted in 2020 Reviews Cloak and Dagger Challenge Cozy Wednesday Giveaways Read The Printed Word Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday featuring A Stroke of Malice (A Lady Darby Mystery) by Anna Lee Huber #Review / #Giveaway @BerkleyMystery


Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am happy to feature A Stoke of Malice by Anna Lee Huber today
which isn’t technically a cozy but had to squeeze it in here!

A Stroke of Malice (A Lady Darby Mystery)
Historical Mystery
8th in Series
Setting – Scotland
Publisher: Berkley (April 7, 2020)
Paperback: 384 pages
ISBN-10: 0451491386
ISBN-13: 978-0451491381
Kindle ASIN: B07V111W1F

Lady Kiera Darby and her husband Sebastian Gage are looking forward to celebrating with new friends at an exciting yearly soiree, but they soon learn that murder never takes a holiday in the latest riveting installment in this national bestselling series.

 

January 1832. After enjoying a delightful few weeks with her family, expectant mother Kiera and Sebastian Gage have been invited to the Duchess of Bowmontʼs Twelfth Night party in Traquair, Scotland. Though she normally avoids such fashionable, rambunctious events, Kiera is ready to join in the festive merrymaking. But upon their arrival at the opulent estate, it becomes obvious that all is not merry in their hostess’s home. The family appears to be under a great strain, and someone seems determined to cause mayhem among the guests with a series of forged notes.

 

Matters swiftly turn from irksome to downright deadly when the partygoers stumble upon a decomposing body in the castleʼs crypt. The corpse is thought to be the duchessʼs son-in-law who had purportedly traveled to Paris more than a month earlier. It is evident the man met with foul play, and Kiera and Gage soon realize that a ruthless murderer walks among them—and may well be a member of the duchessʼs own family. And when the investigation takes a treacherous turn, Kiera discovers just how deep the killer is willing to dig to keep their secrets from ever seeing the light of day.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Lady Kiera Darby and her husband Sebastian Gage have arrived in Traquair, Scotland to attend Duchess of Bowmontʼs Twelfth Night party. There is an eerie undercurrent running through the castle but Kiera and Gage are ready for the big event which begins with trumpets and ends with murder. When Lord Edward leads guests on a ghost tour in catacombs under Kirkbryde Abbey a new corpse is found. It appears the duchessʼs son-in-law is the victim of foul play and the murderer could be one of the party’s guests. At their host’s request, Gage and Kiera find themselves leading the investigation and uncovering some weighty secrets along the way.


The characters Anna Lee Huber has created are stellar and their development over the course of the series has been excellent. Even heavy with child Lady Kiera Darby is a force when it comes to getting to the truth. Her husband Sebastian Gage is a caring and loving man who knows what a strong, intelligent woman his wife is. Together they appear to be unstoppable and uncommon for the 1800s. Ms. Huber surrounds these main characters with a diverse cast of supporting characters across all classes of the aristocracy. Gage and Kiera are usually assisted by their servants Bree and Anderley and this time Kiera’s brother is on hand to help as well.

The author sets a scene in almost a magical way. From the deep, dank catacombs, to the Sunlaws suites and ballrooms, and the Scottish countryside. The dresses, kilts, and costumes. All the people and places truly come alive with her vivid descriptions. The cover of the book gives the overall chilly feel of the time but Huber’s descriptive detail is like no other. You can almost smell the air, feel the breezes, and hear the clicks of the heels on the floors. She truly does take you into the story in a meaningful way.

As I have come to expect from this author, the mystery is very complex and full of stress-filled moments. Everyone seems to be hiding something or holding something back. The lore of ghostly friar that keeps servants on edge adds a nice little twist. The mystery takes Anderley hither and yon and Gage and Kiera into the nearby town and all around the large estate in search of answers. Well-written and plotted, I was totally clueless until the very final clues started to fall into place.

This story was one to be savored. I read it over the course of three evenings hurrying through each day so that I could get back to it.

A Stroke of Malice is a fantastic addition to this series. I do highly recommend them all. I am very excited about next year’s book in this series.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

To Find out more about Anna Lee Huber visit her website here.


Also by this Author

The publisher is unable to give a copy away due to
the Coronavirus so I am giving away my review copy!

The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Follow Berkley Mystery on Twitter for 2 Bonus Entries.

Add this book to your WANT TO READ shelf on GoodReads for 3 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End April 29, 2020, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted in 2020 Reviews Cloak and Dagger Challenge E-Book Challenge New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

The Boy from the Woods by Harlan Coben – Early Review

Release Date – March 17, 2020


The Boy from the Woods
Suspense Thriller
Setting – New Jersey
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (March 17, 2020)
Hardcover: 384 pages
ISBN-10: 1538748142
ISBN-13: 978-1538748145
Kindle ASIN: B07TYBQJBM

A man with a mysterious past must find a missing teenage girl in this shocking thriller from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Run Away.

 

Thirty years ago, Wilde was found as a boy living feral in the woods, with no memory of his past. Now an adult, he still doesn’t know where he comes from, and another child has gone missing.

 

No one seems to take Naomi Pine’s disappearance seriously, not even her father-with one exception. Hester Crimstein, a television criminal attorney, knows through her grandson that Naomi was relentlessly bullied at school. Hester asks Wilde-with whom she shares a tragic connection-to use his unique skills to help find Naomi.

 

Wilde can’t ignore an outcast in trouble, but in order to find Naomi he must venture back into the community where he has never fit in, a place where the powerful are protected even when they harbor secrets that could destroy the lives of millions . . . secrets that Wilde must uncover before it’s too late.

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

As soon as I find out the release date for a new Harlan Coben book I rush to my reading calendar and make sure I keep a date open to review it. Then I anxiously wait for the book to pop up for review. Coben is my favorite author when it comes to suspense and he never disappoints.

The story starts out with Naomi Pine being bullied and soon after the teenager disappears. No one seems to care that the girl is missing except a classmate who feels guilty for not stepping up to defend her and even played along with some of the pranks played on her. He is worried so he reaches out to his grandmother, Hester Crimstein, a television criminal attorney. Hester then reaches out to Wilde, a man who was found in the woods near her home 30 years ago and was befriended by her son. Wilde feels he has things in common with Naomi and immediately begins his search. A search that could cost him. A search that could hurt others. A search that will reveal secrets that could destroy lives.


This story is absolutely fabulous!

If you have read other Coben thrillers the name Hester Crimstein may be familiar. She is a woman who is tough as nails but we now see she has a soft spot for her grandson. Until now she has been a supporting character that pops up here and there. Through this story, we finally get to know more about this sassy broad who comes to town to see what her grandson Matthew really knows about a girl he says is missing.

We also meet Wilde, a boy found living in the woods about 30 years ago when he was between 6-8 years old. He spoke English but didn’t know his name or anything about where he came from. He soon became known as Wilde. No family ever claimed him so he was placed in foster care and he excelled in school. Upon graduation, he joined the military excelling there as well.  That led to a post-military career in security and investigation.  But the man is clearly a loner and is happiest living in the woods that will always be his home.

The thing Mr. Coben really does well is create characters with many layers. Some like Hester’s are revealed over time. Other’s like Wilde, Naomi, and Matthew are peeled back over the course of the story but I always feel like he holds just a bit back in case he wants to revisit them again in the future. All the characters are interesting and held my attention and I wanted to know more.

He has wrapped these characters into a story that starts as a missing person case and quickly becomes so much more. Wilde truly was all in when it came to finding Naomi and went to great lengths to get answers. He runs into roadblocks but pushes through, literally at times, to get in people’s faces to find out what the know or what they did. A surprising twist changes the game and ratchets up the suspense and takes us in new directions.

Coben blends social and political themes, really highlighting how far the rich will go to keep their secrets. We are immersed in the dark side seeing people who have created a great public facade but who truly have no morals or ethics. It made my cringe in places.

Mr. Coben also shows us a softer side as characters deal with loss and grief while trying to move forward. Grieving the loss of a loved one is something I am very familiar with and he captured and told this part of the story in a heartwarming and believable way.  It was a nice little subplot alongside all the action and suspense.

As I said, this story is fabulous, it is filled with twists and thrills. I totally escaped into every aspect of the story. Well-plotted and written, with a perfect pace. The ending was a complete surprise, The Boy From The Woods is a complex story that was so compelling.  I loved it! My world completely stopped when I started reading. In fact, Harlan Coben is responsible for my latest book hangover because I stayed up until the early morning hours to finish this book.

The Boy From The Woods deserves more than 5 stars. It earns my Paradise Rating and a place on my Best Reads of 2020.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Find out more about Harlan Coben and his book on his webpage here.



Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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In An Instant by Suzanne Redfearn #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @SuzanneRedfearn

In an Instant
by Suzanne Redfearn

About In An Instant

In An Instant
Thriller/Women’s Fiction
Setting – California
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (March 1, 2020)
Paperback: 331 pages
ISBN-10: 1542006589
ISBN-13: 978-1542006583
Digital ASIN: B07NVD1276

A deeply moving story of carrying on even when it seems impossible.

 

Life is over in an instant for sixteen-year-old Finn Miller when a devastating car accident tumbles her and ten others over the side of a mountain. Suspended between worlds, she watches helplessly as those she loves struggle to survive.

 

Impossible choices are made, decisions that leave the survivors tormented with grief and regret. Unable to let go, Finn keeps vigil as they struggle to reclaim their shattered lives. Jack, her father, who seeks vengeance against the one person he can blame other than himself; her best friend, Mo, who bravely searches for the truth as the story of their survival is rewritten; her sister Chloe, who knows Finn lingers and yearns to join her; and her mother, Ann, who saved them all but is haunted by her decisions. Finn needs to move on, but how can she with her family still in pieces?

 

Heartrending yet ultimately redemptive, In an Instant is a story about the power of love, the meaning of family, and carrying on…even when it seems impossible.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

As soon as I read the synopsis for this book I knew I had to read it and OMG I am glad I did.

A long weekend and the Miller family along with neighbors that are like family, Finn’s best friend Mo, Chloe’s boyfriend Vance and Bingo, the family dog all load into the Miller Mobile to go to Big Bear for skiing, snowboarding, and family fun.

They arrive at their cabin to unload and unpack but soon hit the road again to go to Grizzly Manor for dinner. The snow started falling while they were inside and quickly turns into a full-blown blizzard.

Along the way, they stop to pick up Kyle whose car is now stranded in a snowbank. It is slow going but then a buck in the road has Finn’s dad hitting the brakes and the camper starts to slide and tumble over the side of the mountain.

Finn doesn’t survive, but she can see and hear everything. She is trapped between heaven and hell on earth as she watches her family deal with her death and try to save themselves.

_____

The story is told from Finn’s point of view so readers are able to see and feel everything that unfolds. The depth of each character evolves as we see how they react to the horrendous tragedy. It is a very emotional tale and I was completely riveted to the pages. Powerful, gripping and revealing.

I think this story really hit me in the heart because I have lost a child. Different circumstances but I always feel like he is with me every day even after almost 5 years. I will say I dealt with my grief and still deal with my grief differently that the characters in this story but everyone handles loss in their own way.

When I reached the end of the book I wiped the tears from eyes and read the Author’s Note and learned this book is based on a true memory she had. Thankfully no one died then but my tears started flowing all over again. She told this story in such an amazing way. As a reader, I could feel the cold, my heart ached with the pain, and anger flared more than once.

Ms. Redfearn also included a special needs child in this story. Again, my emotions rolled by the way this child was treated. Heartwarming to fierce anger to heartbreaking. His part of the story has stuck with me almost more than Finn’s.

In An Instant is a story that will make you think and may even leave you breathless at times.

This quote is one I want to keep and maybe have it etched permanently somewhere:

“Reach for the stars or the moon or another universe altogether, and shine so bright you blind everyone around you, and though I am gone, carry me with you, but only as lightness and never as weight.”

I look forward to reading more books by this author.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Suzanne Redfearn

Suzanne Redfearn

Suzanne Redfearn is the award-winning author of three novels: Hush Little BabyNo Ordinary Life, and In an Instant. In addition to being an author, she’s also an architect specializing in residential and commercial design. She lives in Laguna Beach, California, where she and her husband own two restaurants: Lumberyard and Slice Pizza and Beer. You can find her at her website, SuzanneRedfearn.com, on Facebook at SuzanneRedfearnAuthor, or on Twitter @SuzanneRedfearn.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Glitter, Glam, and Contraband: A Delanie Fitzgerald Mystery by Heather Leigh Weidner #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @HeatherWeidner1

Glitter, Glam, and Contraband: A Delanie Fitzgerald Mystery
by Heather Leigh Weidner

About Glitter, Glam and Contraband


Glitter, Glam, and Contraband: A Delanie Fitzgerald Mystery
Traditional Mystery/Female Sleuth/Humorous Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Virginia
Publisher: Sandpiper Productions (November 19, 2019)
Paperback: 240 pages
ISBN-10: 099945983X
ISBN-13: 978-0999459836
ASIN: B081PGYR7T

Private investigator, Delanie Fitzgerald, and her computer hacker partner, Duncan Reynolds, are back for more sleuthing in Glitter, Glam and Contraband. In this fast-paced mystery, the Falcon Investigations team is hired to find out who is stealing from the talent at a local drag show. Delanie gets more than she bargains for and a few makeup tips in the process. Meanwhile, a mysterious sound in the ceiling of her office vexes Delanie. She uses her sleuthing skills to track down the source and uncover a creepy contraband operation.

Glitter, Glam, and Contraband features a strong female sleuth with a knack for getting herself in and out of humorous situations like helping sleezy strip club owner, Chaz Smith on his quest to become Richmond’s next mayor, tracking down missing reptiles, and uncovering hidden valuables from a 100-year-old crime with a Poe connection.

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

In this third Delanie Fitzgerald mystery, Delanie has her hands full with drag queens, a mayoral candidate, a snake or two, and some strange digging at the base of a statue, all as part of her normal everyday life as a private investigator.   Her partner, Duncan Reynolds, uses his mad computer skills to assist her in any way he can.  Office mascot/rug, Margaret, a bulldog, also shows what a great protector she can be.

Delanie Fitzgerald is a strong woman, not afraid to go undercover to solve her case but this time she comes up against something that even has her backing up quickly. She is the one that handles all the legwork for Falcon Investigations but this time danger lurks right in the office, except she is the only one that realizes something is up, literally.

Full of action and humor, Heather Weidner delivers another enjoyable story. The cases Falcon Investigations takes on are very realistic. Missing items, background information on persons of interests, a little digging into some mysterious digging and questioning the death of a nearby shop owner.

The pace is quick as Delaney goes from one case to another with Duncan available by phone to help her out. She does have some crazy clients but they are all realistically depicted. I loved the time she spent with the drag queens and how welcoming most of them were to her. One even gave her a couple of mini makeovers.

Ms. Weidner has created some truly great characters and fleshed them out nicely enabling the reader to easily “see” them for who they are. She also describes the situations in a way to bring the reader right on the scene. Weidner knows where to add the funny moments in all the right places too.

I was entertained trailing along with Delanie on all her mini-adventures and am looking forward to the next book in this series.

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Read my review of Secret Lives and Private Eyes here and  The Tulip Shirt Murders here.

About Heather Weidner

Glitter, Glam, and Contraband is Heather Weidner’s third novel in the Delanie Fitzgerald series. Her short stories appear in the Virginia is for Mysteries series, 50 Shades of Cabernet, and Deadly Southern Charm. Her novellas appear in The Mutt Mysteries series. She is a member of Sisters in Crime – Central Virginia, Guppies, International Thriller Writers, and James River Writers.

Originally from Virginia Beach, Heather has been a mystery fan since Scooby-Doo and Nancy Drew. She lives in Central Virginia with her husband and a pair of Jack Russell terriers.

Heather earned her BA in English from Virginia Wesleyan University and her MA in American literature from the University of Richmond. Through the years, she has been a technical writer, editor, college professor, software tester, and IT manager.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”