Tag Archives: mysteries & thrillers

Blood Mark by J.P. McLean Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A young woman who has spent her entire life with mysterious red birthmarks and terrifying nightmares finds her world turned upside down as the birthmarks begin fading, and the dreams become more vivid as a serial killer sets their sights on her in author J.P. McLean’s “Blood Mark”, the first in a brand new paranormal thriller series.

The Synopsis

What if your lifelong curse is the only thing keeping you alive? Abandoned at birth, life has always been a battle for Jane Walker. She and her best friend, Sadie, spent years fighting to survive Vancouver’s cutthroat underbelly. That would have been tough enough without Jane’s mysterious afflictions: an intricate pattern of blood-red birthmarks that snake around her body and vivid, heart-wrenching nightmares that feel so real she wakes up screaming.

After she meets the first man who isn’t repulsed by her birthmarks, Jane thinks she might finally have a chance at happiness. Her belief seems confirmed as the birthmarks she’s spent her life so ashamed of magically begin to disappear. Yet, the quicker her scarlet marks vanish, the more lucid and disturbing Jane’s nightmares become—until it’s impossible to discern her dreams from reality, and Jane comes to a horrifying realization:

The nightmares that have plagued her since childhood are actually visions of real people being stalked by a deadly killer. And all this time, her birthmarks have been the only things protecting her from becoming his next victim.

Blood Mark is the first in a brand-new paranormal thriller series by JP McLean, author of The Gift Legacy series and whose writing has been described as “. . . deftly crafted, impressively original, and inherently compelling from first page to last.”

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The Review

This was a refreshing new take on the paranormal thriller genre. The integration of Inca mythology into a modern-day thriller was engaging and thought-provoking, giving readers a wonderful blend of mythology and gritty crime thriller. The author’s own writing was outstanding, delivering a very descriptive and creative balance of imagery and character growth that felt very cinematic as a whole. 

The characters themselves were so captivating to read. Each character brought a complex and emotional background to the narrative, and the mature setting and tone of the storyline really allowed the author to explore the nuances and thoughtful approach to the character’s arc. Jane was a well-rounded new heroine in this paranormal thriller and did an excellent job of creating a bond between the reader and the narrative overall.

The Verdict

A magical, haunting, and entertaining read, author J.P. McLean’s “Blood Mark” is a brilliant new paranormal thriller! The pacing and chilling atmosphere the author crafts, along with the heartbreaking backstories and gripping action that takes place make this a standout read, and will leave readers eager to devour more books from this author. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

I’m very fortunate to live in a writer’s paradise on one of the small northern Gulf Islands off the eastern shore of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. The rugged beaches and towering fir and arbutus trees that surround me often end up in my stories. When I’m not pouring my imagination into my computer, I’m futzing in gardens, making a mess of the kitchen or hiking local trails. I write stories that entice you to believe the impossible and escape the everyday for a while. Enjoy the read!

I’m also on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/JPMcLeanBooks

HELLROSE by Emma M. King Review

A doctor plagued by traumatic visions of trauma must try to fix her past by helping a new patient at the asylum she works at in author Emma M. King’s “HELLROSE”.

The Synopsis

Over the past 150 years, HELLROSE psychiatric hospital has become one of America’s most feared establishments.

After being plagued by flashbacks to a terrifying past, a psychiatrist, Dr. Lisa Williams, tries to repair her life by helping a new outlandish patient who has his own horrifying history.

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The Review

This was a gripping psychological thriller! The author did an incredible job of delivering a tense and haunting look into the world of mental health and the criminal justice system, exploring how mental health can affect so many people, not just a particular group of people, and the shocking behavior and actions that can arise within someone so completely separate from their own personalities. 

The character exploration was detailed and engaging in this novel. The protagonist’s personal struggles mirror the intensity of the environment around her, and the twisted cases that arrive on her desk daily. The mystery surrounding her new patient and the investigation that arises during his evaluation will have readers on the edge of their seats. 

The only thing of note here is that some of the dialogue between characters can come across as less natural and more pointed, so my only critique would be taking a less “tell” approach to the character’s interactions and more of a “show” approach instead, but honestly this happens only a couple of times that I could see so the narrative overall feels powerful enough to overshadow those few instances.

The Verdict

An entertaining, chilling, and thought-provoking psychological thriller, author Emma M. King’s “HELLROSE” is a must-read novel for the fall 2021 season! Shocking revelations and a twist ending will take readers by surprise, and the novel showcases the depth and experience the author has brought to this particular genre of thriller, making the narrative’s tone feel authentic and more engaging. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 8/10

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About the Author

Born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, Emma M. King graduated from Penn State University with a degree in journalism & psychology.

Her publishing story has been covered by the Wall Street Journal, Entertainment Weekly. She has appeared on ABC’s World News Now and America This Morning.

Emma lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with her family. She enjoys traveling, hiking, kayaking, and exploring the city’s best brunch options. She regularly blogs about her “writing life” at www.emmaking.co.

Serpent Loop by Lynn Lipinski Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A brother is pushed to the limits when a murder at the carnival he is working at opens up a twisted mystery his younger sister is caught in, and as the investigation ramps up and she disappears, he must decide how far he is willing to go to protect the family he has left in author Lynn Lipinski’s “Serpent Loop”.

The Synopsis

Sometimes new beginnings come from destruction.

A man is murdered at a carnival. For Zane Clearwater, witnessing the crime is a dark reminder of a violent past he had hoped to put behind him and his teenage sister Lettie. But the fear on her face tells him one thing: she’s somehow involved and as her guardian, he must protect her at all costs. Even if it jeopardizes his future as a police officer.

Zane has a lot of questions, but so do the police…and the FBI. Zane had seen his sister’s genius computer skills as an asset to get her into college and out of the hand-to-mouth life he was living as security guard and janitor. But Lettie had decided to use those skills in some questionable schemes on the dark web. And now trouble had come looking for them in real life.

When Lettie takes off for California, Zane embarks on a journey of discovery that even unbreakable bonds may have their limits. Can he stay one step ahead of trouble and protect Lettie? Or has trouble finally caught up with them for good? 

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The Review

The author did a fantastic job of grabbing the reader’s attention with a gripping opening scene. While this book seems to be a continuation of the author’s first book, Bloodlines, this narrative does an amazing job of connecting the two books while still allowing new readers to jump into the story headfirst without having read the first book. The suspense and atmosphere are adrenaline-fueled as the reader is treated to twists and turns galore and the original crime spirals into something the protagonist could not have seen coming.

What was captivating the most was the balance the author found with this twisted narrative with the emotional and realistic journey the protagonist went on. Between trying to solve the mystery of what caused this violent altercation to turn into murder, to trying to bond and figure out the complicated issues his little sister has gotten into in her teenage years, and the struggle to find his life’s purpose all at the same time is something many readers are going to be able to identify with and makes for truly engaging reading overall.

The Verdict

A marvelous, entertaining, edge-of-your-seat thriller, author Lynn Lipinski’s “Serpent Loop” is the must-read crime thriller you have to be reading this fall. Beautifully written and highly creative, the author has delivered a narrative that feels real and magical all at once and brings a true depth of emotional development for these characters that readers won’t be able to help themselves from feeling a bond with them. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Lynn Lipinski is a writer who channels an overactive imagination into fictional worlds where justice rules, karma is real and the good person comes out on top. Her second book, “God of the Internet,” was named to Kirkus Reviews Best Indie Books of 2016 list.

Her first book, “Bloodlines,” is set in her hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma, which also happens to be her favorite place to write about even though decades of living in L.A. have worn away the Okie accent. She earned an M.F.A. in creative writing from Mount St. Mary’s University in 2018.

http://lynnlipinski.me/

The Mother Next Door by Tara Laskowski Review 

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A group of mothers within a popular cul-de-sac find their little community threatened by a mysterious figure who threatens to reveal the dark secrets of their past in author Tara Laskowski’s “The Mother Next Door”.

The Synopsis

For fans of Lisa Jewell, Aimee Molloy, and Joshilyn Jackson, an upmarket suspense novel from a multi-award-winning author about a tightknit group of suburban mothers who invite a new neighborhood mom into their fold, and the fallout the night of the annual block party, when secrets from the past come back to haunt them…

The annual block party is the pinnacle of the year on idyllic suburban cul de sac Ivy Woods Drive. An influential group of neighborhood moms—known as the Ivy Five—plan the event for months.

Except the Ivy Five have been four for a long time.

When a new mother moves to town, eager to fit in, the moms see it as an opportunity to make the group whole again. This year’s block party should be the best yet… until the women start receiving anonymous messages threatening to expose the quiet neighborhood’s dark past—and the lengths they’ve gone to hide it.

As secrets seep out and the threats intensify, the Ivy Five must sort the loyal from the disloyal, the good from the bad. They’ll do anything to protect their families. But when a twisted plot is revealed, with dangerous consequences, their steady foundation begins to crumble, leaving only one certainty: after this year’s block party, Ivy Woods Drive will never be the same.

From award-winning author Tara Laskowski, The Mother Next Door is an atmospheric novel of domestic suspense in which the strive for perfection ends in murder…

The Review

This was a chilling and adrenaline-fueled thriller that will give readers whiplash with the twists and turns that the narrative takes them on. The atmosphere and tone really do a great job of highlighting the contrast between the picturesque suburban dream the Ivy Five portrayed to the public and the hellish nightmare their secrets and lies have created in the background of the community. The author perfectly captures the privilege that wealth and status buy people who have done terrible things in this life, and captured the societal emotions that have taken hold in recent years at the injustice of such secretive actions.

Yet it was the narrative and character growth that really stole the show here. The razor-sharp wit of the moms, especially Kendra, as they move people around like pawns in a game of their own making is highlighted perfectly in Theresa’s chapters especially, as the protagonist shows the struggles to adapt and make herself belong in this group, as mistakes of her own past begin to haunt her as well. The weight of those secrets and lies highlights the elevated anger and fear that builds up with keeping such a secret for so long, and the author’s use of this to add tension into the narrative was a stroke of genius.

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The Verdict

Pretty Little Liars meets Revenge with a Halloween twist, author Tara Laskowski’s “The Mother Next Door” is the perfect suburban thriller this fall. The memorable characterization of the “perfect” suburban dream team and the haunting emotions that build as the secrets begin to pile up on one another more and more make this a truly memorable read. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

About the Author

Tara Laskowski

TARA LASKOWSKI is the author of One Night Gone, which won an Agatha Award, Macavity Award, and Anthony Award, and was a finalist for the Mary Higgins Clark Award, Left Coast Crime Award, Strand Critics’ Award, and Library of Virginia Literary Award. She is also the author of two short story collections, Modern Manners for Your Inner Demons and Bystanders, has published stories in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine and Mid-American Review, among others, and is the former editor of SmokeLong Quarterly. Tara earned a BA in English from Susquehanna University and an MFA from George Mason University and currently lives in Virginia. Find her on Twitter and Instagram, @TaraLWrites.

SOCIAL LINKS:

Author website: https://taralaskowski.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tara.laskowski.9

Twitter: @TaraLWrites

Instagram: @taralwrites

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56555529-the-mother-next-door

BUY LINKS:

Bookshop.org: https://bookshop.org/books/the-mother-next-door-a-novel-of-suspense/9781525804700

Politics & Prose: https://www.politics-prose.com/book/9781525804700

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-mother-next-door-tara-laskowski/1138551311?ean=9781488078125&st=AFF&2sid=HarperCollins%20Publishers%20LLC_7651142_NA&sourceId=AFFHarperCollins%20Publishers%20LLC

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Mother-Next-Door-Novel-Suspense/dp/1525804707/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

Target: https://www.target.com/p/the-mother-next-door-by-tara-laskowski-paperback/-/A-82219724

Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-mother-next-door/id1547075567?id=1547075567&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

One More Page: https://www.onemorepagebooks.com/book/9781525804700

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-mother-next-door

Indiebound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781525804700?aff=PublishersWeekly

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/The_Mother_Next_Door_A_Novel_of_Suspense?id=baYREAAAQBAJ&hl=en_US&gl=US 

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Q&A with Tara Laskowski

Q: Please give us a one sentence pitch for your novel, The Mother Next Door.

A: An atmospheric suspense novel about a tight-knit group of suburban mothers who invite a new neighborhood mom into their fold, and the fallout the night of the annual Halloween block party, when secrets from the past come back to haunt them.

Q: Why do you believe thrillers are so popular?

A: They naturally invoke our curiosity–our sense of “I have to know what happens.” Plus, I think people like to read about bad things happening to other people. It’s the same with horror movies or books–it’s a fun way to put yourself in a terrifying situation without actually having to be in a terrifying situation. As long as our brains know we are safe, we can enjoy that rush of adrenaline without the sheer panic.

Q: Where do you get your ideas? Of course, from your imagination, but do you read, see or hear something that clicks? How did you come up with the idea for The Mother Next Door? Is this book based on any true events?

A: I usually start with setting, weirdly. I need a place that I can envision, and that I can see bad things happening in. If I’ve got the place, then I can insert characters and make things happen. 

For The Mother Next Door, I took all of the things I love most–Halloween, cool houses, urban legends–and put them in a domestic suspense set in a creepy suburban neighborhood. The book isn’t really based on any true events, but it definitely riffs off stuff in my real life. We live in a neighborhood with a cul-de-sac that throws a Halloween potluck every year, for example, though as far as I know nothing nefarious has happened over there!

Q: Are you a plotter or pantser?

A: I don’t do well with outlines. I need to feel my way through a book with a blindfold on (though occasionally I guess I pull it down and try to get a glimpse of what’s ahead.) By this, I mean, I like to write a little, then figure out the next few “beats” or things that might happen, then write those, then figure out a little more, etc. And delete and rewrite and cry a little and doubt myself and think I’m the greatest thing since barbeque chips and start the whole process over again. And each time, so far, it’s ended up in a book, so fingers crossed!

Q: Any great tips for aspiring writers?

A: 1) Find your tribe 2) Learn to take criticism and rejection gracefully 3) Read. A lot. 4) Sign up for a monthly massage program.

Q: What is your favorite place to write?

A: It’s super boring, but my home office. I like to have control over my environment. I know writers who can write in coffee shops or libraries or outside, but I need to be at a desk in relative quiet most of the time. If it’s too noisy or too cold or there’s a chance that a spider will crawl on me, I can’t concentrate. That said, we have an excellent screened-in porch and I do like writing out there sometimes.

Q: Are you working on another book now or taking a break?

A: I’m working on my third novel, which is set in upstate New York at a winery and estate and features a group of old friends who return there for a reunion only to realize they are caught up in a decade-old revenge plot.

Q:  What is your favorite season and why?

A: Hands-down: Fall. Sweaters! Crunchy leaves! Pumpkin everything! Football! Also, Halloween is my birthday, and I adore anything and everything spooky. So, there you go.

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Here is an Exclusive Excerpt From “The Mother Next Door”

HALLOWEEN

Ladies and gentlemen, skulls and boys: by the time our Halloween block party is over tonight, one of us will be dead.

And I don’t mean dead as in dull, or dead as in zombified. I mean dead as in gone. Dead as in expired. Killed.

Murdered.

You may be feeling distressed about this, knowing what you know about Ivy Woods—the great neighborhood it is, the sweet, loving families that live there. How could such a tragedy happen in such a wonderful place? You may have traveled here yourself, as a child or as a parent, lured in by the local fame of the street and its ghoulish decorations each year. The lights, the smoke, the gravestones, and the moaning. The witches, cackling and handing out candy. The swarms of little Frankensteins and cowboys and robots and ballet dancers lugging their pillowcases and plastic pumpkin buckets filled with sugar and junk.

But Ivy Woods isn’t perfect.

Far from it.

Look closer. Look under the makeup and the masks, look into the windows of the perfect houses. Dig under the surface of those freshly mowed lawns and you’ll find the worms. I’ve looked—believe me, I’ve looked. There’s something about this street. There are secrets. I know from watching through the windows, from hearing the hushed conversations, from lingering on their faces when they think everyone else has looked away.

Oh they think they are perfect. They pat themselves on the back for throwing such good parties, for raising such fine children, for living in such big houses.

But they are pretending.

They don masks on this one single night to dress up as someone or something else, but in reality they live their lives this way.

We all do.

We hate ourselves. We are too fat, or too thin. We should work hard, be smarter. We are lonely and depressed. We are worried about money. We are ashamed of the way that our friends and family treat us. But we lie about it all. We hide behind a protective façade, fragile glass figurines inside elaborate dollhouses designed to look like perfect, safe, happy places.

Tonight it will all shatter.

Watch closely and you’ll begin to see what I see. There’s trouble in the air, a cold wind blowing in from far away, and it’s settled on Ivy Woods Drive. The secrets and the lies we tell ourselves and others will emerge tonight like spirits of the dead. Lines will be drawn. Sides will be taken. Someone won’t make it out alive.

I can’t save that person, but I’ll tell the story. Turn over the rocks, expose the worms. Pull back the masks.

Because I know their secrets, secrets that will destroy them all.

If they don’t destroy themselves first.

Excerpted from The Mother Next Door by Tara Laskowski, Copyright © 2021 by Tara Laskowski. Published by Graydon House Books. 

Cult by Warren Adler Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

After receiving a frantic call from the man she once loved claiming his current wife has been taken, a woman must put aside her misgivings and risk all to help the man she cared for deeply save his wife from the hands of a dangerous cult in author Warren Adler’s “Cult”. 

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The Synopsis

In the dead of night, Naomi Forman receives a phone call. Barney Harrigan, the man she once loved—now happily married with children—utters, “My wife Charlotte has been captured by the Glories.” What began as a rude interruption of her night becomes a horrifying interruption of her life, as she is unable to ignore Barney’s cry for help.

Drawn into the Glory Church doomsday cult by her estranged sister, Charlotte Harrigan succumbs to the will of the enigmatic Father Glory. Brainwashed beyond comprehension, she is now not herself, but only one of many who have been entrapped by the cult’s promise of rebirth into a new, idyllic life.

Against her better judgment, Naomi agrees to help Barney confront the Glories and save Charlotte. But naïve optimism quickly plummets to misery as their plans are systematically picked apart, dashed by members of the cult past and present, and even by the local Sheriff T. Clausen Moore, who is only as helpful as the Glories want him to be. His awareness of the Glory’s practices and their secluded compound—including the river, where there has been more than one “accidental” drowning—is the one obstacle that he too must overcome to restore order to his county. No one is safe.

Naomi’s will is tested and Barney becomes more and more desperate. The lengths he is willing to go to save his wife are as sinister as the Glories themselves.

From the Manson family to Scientology, cults have been fascinating, disturbing, and terrifying, from their induction methodologies to doomsday imperatives. The Glory Church of Warren Adler’s vision is no different. Just look to the headlines. Their time will come. 

The Review

When a story like this comes along, the thing that always separates the well-written from the more sensationalized storylines is how the story impacts the conversations they stir up. This novel really did an amazing job of creating buzz-filled conversations that pushed the limits of what we think about when it comes to religious freedom vs indoctrination. 

The character growth was so layered and complex that it really drew readers into the narrative. The novel introduced a story that felt very real, due in large part to the conflicted and flawed protagonists and antagonists of this narrative. The question of morality comes into play so strongly that readers will be forced to analyze how they would approach this emotional and mentally challenging subject. While saving our loved ones from indoctrination seems like a simple enough task, the means by which we do so and the consequences for those actions are what the characters here are forced to deal with.

The Verdict

A brilliant, complex, and engaging read, author Warren Adler’s “Cult” is a fantastic read. It allows readers to understand the challenging and emotional task of losing loved ones to fanaticism and cult activity, while also exploring the consequences of our choices. The concept of choice is a major theme in this novel, and the twists and turns both halfway through the novel and in the end will keep readers on the edge of their seats. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Acclaimed author, playwright, poet, and essayist Warren Adler is best known for The War of the Roses, his masterpiece fictionalization of a macabre divorce that was adapted into the iconic dark comedy that starred Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner and Danny DeVito. Following the success of his The War of the Roses, Adler went on to option and sell film rights to more than a dozen of his novels and short stories to Hollywood and major television networks. Random Hearts, The Sunset Gang, Private Lies, Funny Boys, Madeline’s Miracles, Trans-Siberian Express and his Fiona Fitzgerald mystery series are only a few titles that have forever left Adler’s mark on contemporary American authorship from page to stage to screen.

Adler illuminates the intricacies of the modern American family through wit and realism, a trademark that has earned him the moniker ‘master of dysfunction’. On the other hand, he navigates the turbulent waters of the American political and social scene with unsurpassed authenticity; his political thrillers such as The Henderson Equation, The Casanova Embrace, and American Quartet – a ‘New York Times notable crime book’ are born from his experiences as a former White House correspondent, and co-owner of Washington Dossier Magazine, chronicling the social history of the nation’s capital from 1975-1991. He was also a businessman and once campaign strategist to President Richard Nixon. With over 40 years of an insider’s view of the exclusive domain of the nation’s political elite, Adler writes with a unique insight and command rendering him an invaluable voice in the evolving American experience, and a trademark in American literature. 

https://www.warrenadler.com/popularbooksbywarrenadler/

Little Owl by Lauri Schoenfeld Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A mother must find a way of unlocking her past, saving her marriage and discovering the truth behind her daughters disappearances in author Lauri Schoenfeld’s “Little Owl”.

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The Synopsis

Adaline Rushner is a woman in pieces. Her daughters have gone missing, and although the authorities seem to have found their bodies, something still isn’t right. Her husband, Cache, can’t bear the pain and wants to move on, but Adaline can’t shake the feeling they’re still alive. She even starts seeing them in the house, though Cache does not. Adaline wonders whether this current tragedy has something to do with the misfortune and painful experiences she suffered in her own childhood, but her memories have gaps in them that she can’t quite close on her own.

After Adaline and Cache move to Salt Lake City, everything gets even stranger. Local cop Officer Abbott thinks Adaline’s distinctive owl necklace may somehow link to his own missing daughter. Adaline’s neighbor Maggie offers assistance and comfort, but Adaline suspects her of hiding other truths from her. Adaline tries to prepare for her girls’ eventual return while investigating her own past forgotten traumas, but a threatening message urges her to let the past stay forgotten. Can Adaline find the truth and save her marriage to Cache, or will the tangled web of memories from her past keep her from moving on?

Author Lauri Schoenfeld’s psychological thriller is a suspenseful tale of family trauma, discovering our inner strength, and understanding the power of forgiveness.

The Review

Wow. This was my first thought after reading this incredible thriller. The character growth was outstanding in this narrative. The heartbreak and tragic nature of the protagonist and her refusal to accept the loss of her daughters was such a natural and emotional reaction that any parent would likely be able to relate to in those circumstances. Her relationships and the twists and turns the narrative takes to force the readers to question if Adaline is truly having a break from reality due to the loss of her children, or if something far more sinister is afoot.

The thing that really drew me into this narrative was the atmosphere and theme of trust that the author played with. One thing I always look for in a thriller is if you can guess right away who the true “culprit” is, or if the story is so rich that you can’t make up your mind either way. This novel was definitely in the latter category, making me question everyone and truly shocking me several times over the narrative. 

The Verdict

A haunting, shocking, and entertaining thriller, author Lauri Schoenfeld’s “Little Owl” is a must-read novel of 2021! Honestly, this book captured the same shock and wow factor that Dean Koontz’s “False Memory” did, not necessarily by shocking with the revelation but the actions and twists the narrative took readers in. The final revelation of what happened to these children and who is responsible will absolutely be a jaw-dropper of a revelation, and make this story really stand out! If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Lauri Schoenfeld currently resides in Utah with her husband, three kids, and dog, Jack Wyatt Wolverine. She’s a child abuse advocate, a Nancy Drew enthusiast, and is part cyborg. Teaching creative writing classes to her community is one of her favorite things to do when she’s not having long conversations with her characters. Visit her at www.laurischoenfeld.com

https://www.instagram.com/laurischoenfeld/?hl=en

https://www.facebook.com/laurischoenfeldevents/

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B094YTXTFH/ref=x_gr_w_glide_sin?caller=Goodreads&callerLink=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.goodreads.com%2Fbook%2Fshow%2F58205041-little-owl%3Fac%3D1%26from_search%3Dtrue%26qid%3DtcaeVHp5mn%26rank%3D2&tag=x_gr_w_glide_sin-20

Double Crosser by Emme Gordon Review 

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A young man hoping to bring progress to his village finds himself forced to choose between fulfilling a long-cherished dream and the girl he loves in author Emme Gordon’s “Double Crosser”.

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The Synopsis

What if a young man sets out to bring progress and development to his village… at any cost?

Maverick businessman Krish Thomas decides to build a highway that passes through his village. To finance it, he launches a business, becomes a wheeler dealer, and makes a fortune.

And then, in alliance with a dubious political fixer, he plans to steal a billion dollars – from his own company… so he can keep his promise to a childhood friend!

What happens when a nosey detective pokes around into his shady deal making? And a double-crosser begins exposing the shenanigans?

Find out in this fast-paced action thriller ‘Double Crosser’!

With his entire business empire at stake and his very survival threatened, Krish is finally forced to choose between two options… a long-cherished dream, or the girl he loves.

In the end it looks as if Krish’s compromises will almost wreck his fortune – but will they let him pursue his dreams?

‘Double Crosser’ is a thrilling drama full of tension and action. A roller-coaster ride that will plunge you into an exhilarating world of high finance and deadly intrigue, rampant corruption as well as shining idealism.

“It’s about how far one will go, how much one is willing to give… to make a dream come true” – Sid Sinclair

“Fast paced. Never a dull moment. And what a stunning climax. Great story.” – Raj Ramanathan

“A page-turner that grips and will keep you awake late into the night.” – Charlene Cartier

Enter the fascinating universe of Krish, his friends and lover, his rivals and enemies.

A roller-coaster adventure in big finance, rampant corruption, and shining idealism. A stark choice between friendship and love. This action packed thriller will keep you on the edge of your seat!

Enjoy ‘Double Crosser’ today.

The Review

What an engaging and unique thriller! The author has done a marvelous job of drawing readers into this powerful narrative of a young man with dreams of bettering his village and those who live within it, and along the way gets caught up in a game of high-stakes finances, corporate and political corruption, and a delicate balance between love and childhood promises. The atmosphere and tone the author creates early on strike a stark contrast between the hopeful dreams of the protagonist and the dark underbelly of financially driven crime. 

Yet this author’s command over character development was amazing to see unfold. The intricacies of protagonist Krish were so insightful and added so much depth to the narrative. The haunting loss of a childhood friend early on in the book really highlights the overall struggle of the protagonist and influences his actions so much in this story. The balance the author found between this development of the characters and the intrigue of the conflict amongst the protagonist and the corrupt figures he faced really made this financial thriller so engaging to read.

The Verdict

A remarkable, entertaining, and investing financial thriller, author Emme Gordon’s “Double Crosser” is a must-read book. The lengthy yet fast-paced and heart-pounding twists and turns the author takes readers on will guarantee that no reader ever feels bored, as the action is heart-pounding while unique to this particular genre. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Emme Gordon lives in Madras with his French wife and two young boys.

During the day, he clocks time in a cubicle, pretending to code software. In the gloam of twilight, while the world readies to sleep, Emme transforms into a dreamer who indulges joyously in a universe of make believe.

Larger than life characters. Impossibly crazy situations. Desperately dangerous risks. King size dreams. All are grist to Emme’s creative mill.

His novels are about unconventional characters who set out to change the world – a reflection of his own refusal to conform and fit in.

Emme would love to hear from you, especially if you enjoy reading his stories and want to share your thoughts.

https://www.DoubleCrosserBook.com/

Never Saw Me Coming by Vera Kurian Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A college student and diagnosed psychopath taking part in a psychological study of other psychopathic students is caught in a game of cat and mouse when one of the other students is murdered, and she must uncover the murderer’s identify before she is next in author Vera Kurian’s “Never Saw Me Coming”. 

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The Synopsis 

Meet Chloe Sevre. She’s a freshman honor student, a leggings-wearing hot girl next door, who also happens to be a psychopath. Her hobbies include yogalates, frat parties, and plotting to kill Will Bachman, a childhood friend who grievously wronged her.

Chloe is one of seven students at her DC-based college who are part of an unusual clinical study for psychopaths—students like herself who lack empathy and can’t comprehend emotions like fear or guilt. The study, led by a renowned psychologist, requires them to wear smart watches that track their moods and movements.

When one of the students in the study is found murdered in the psychology building, a dangerous game of cat and mouse begins, and Chloe goes from hunter to prey. As she races to identify the killer and put her own plan into action, she’ll be forced to decide if she can trust any of her fellow psychopaths—and everybody knows you should never trust a psychopath.

Never Saw Me Coming is a compulsive, voice-driven thriller by an exciting new voice in fiction, that will keep you pinned to the page and rooting for a would-be killer.

The Review

This was such a fantastically written and gripping thriller. The author takes the classic balance of whodunnit mystery storytelling and haunting thriller vibes and flips the script by having the targeted victims in this case diagnosed psychopaths. This is so unique, as it explores psychopathy as a diagnosis and mental health condition rather than a term just for unhinged criminal minds, while also exploring that facet of the general public’s thinking with morally corrupt characters that fit this description. The layered and complex nature of the character development is what really invites readers into this narrative, delivering shocks and twists not seen since the revelations of Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. 

The atmosphere and tone were what really captured my attention as a reader. The author perfectly found the right blend of chilling personality traits from not just the mystery “killer”, but the protagonists of this narrative as well, and the dark humor that readers can’t help but shakily chuckle at. Readers won’t be able to help to get chills as the author delves into the mindset of these characters, and you won’t be able to help to imagine how many people you know or walk by every day, harboring these thoughts and mindsets. That’s always a good indication of a successful thriller.

The Verdict

A masterful, haunting, and engaging mystery and thriller read, author Vera Kurian’s “Never Saw Me Coming” is a must-read thriller of 2021. The unique character perspectives and chilling atmosphere are incredible driving forces to keep readers invested, and the shocking twist revelation of the killer and their motivation will leave readers falling off their seats. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Vera Kurian is a writer and scientist based in Washington DC.  Her debut novel, NEVER SAW ME COMING, is forthcoming from Park Row Books (US) and Harvill Secker, Vintage (UK)  in Fall 2021. (more on that here). Her short fiction has been published in magazines such as Glimmer Train, Day One, and The Pinch. She was born and raised in the mid-Atlantic region, before stints in NYC and LA returned her to her rightful home of DC where she’s lived for most of her adult life. She has a PhD in Social Psychology, where she studied intergroup relations, ideology, and quantitative methods. She blogs irregularly about writing, horror movies and pop culture/terrible TV. She enjoys existentialism and puppies. 

https://www.verakurian.com/

Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche (Enola Holmes #7) by Nancy Springer Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Literary heroine Enola Holmes and her iconic brother Sherlock join forces when a young woman believes her sister has mistakenly been identified as deceased, and the hunt to learn what has happened to the young woman’s twin takes them to shocking depths in author Nancy Springer’s “Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche”, the seventh novel in the Enola Holmes series.

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The Synopsis

Enola Holmes is the much younger sister of her more famous brothers, Sherlock and Mycroft. But she has all the wits, skills, and sleuthing inclinations of them both. At fifteen, she’s an independent young woman–after all, her name spelled backwards reads ‘alone’–and living on her own in London. When a young professional woman, Miss Letitia Glover, shows up on Sherlock’s doorstep, desperate to learn more about the fate of her twin sister, it is Enola who steps up. It seems her sister, the former Felicity Glover, married the Earl of Dunhench and per a curt note from the Earl, has died. But Letitia Glover is convinced this isn’t the truth, that she’d know–she’d feel–if her twin had died.

The Earl’s note is suspiciously vague and the death certificate is even more dubious, signed it seems by a John H. Watson, M.D. (who denies any knowledge of such). The only way forward is for Enola to go undercover–or so Enola decides at the vehement objection of her brother. And she soon finds out that this is not the first of the Earl’s wives to die suddenly and vaguely–and that the secret to the fate of the missing Felicity is tied to a mysterious black barouche that arrived at the Earl’s home in the middle of the night. To uncover the secrets held tightly within the Earl’s hall, Enola is going to require help–from Sherlock, from the twin sister of the missing woman, and from an old friend, the young Viscount Tewkesbury, Marquess of Basilwether!

Enola Holmes returns in her first adventure since the hit Netflix movie brought her back on the national bestseller lists, introducing a new generation to this beloved character and series.

The Review

This was such an engrossing and thought-provoking read. The author does an incredible job of capturing the tone and dialect of not only the era but the original Sir Arthur Conan Doyle novels following Sherlock Holmes. Yet despite the large shadow that Sherlock casts, Enola does an incredible job of outshining her brother and standing on her own as a remarkable literary heroine. 

The mystery aspect of the narrative and the setting really did steal the show on this novel. The gripping tale of a twin sister seeking the truth about her other half after rumors of her death fell off was a great hook to grab the readers, and Enola’s, attention. The clash of culture between the high society atmosphere of the missing woman’s estate and the seedy underbelly of London and its countryside as they hunt for the location of the missing woman was interesting to see play out here and really made the narrative feel alive in the reader’s mind.

The Verdict

A masterful, thoughtful, and engaging novel, author Nancy Springer’s “Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche” is a must-read novel of 2021. A great springboard for the heroine to return after finding cinematic success on Netflix thanks to the highly talented Millie Bobbie Brown, the balance of character growth and the mystery was amazing to see, and what felt great was that this novel, while a continuation overall of the character’s personal arcs, was strong enough to stand alone for newcomers like me to the series to get engaged in the narrative. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

NANCY SPRINGER is the author of the nationally bestselling Enola Holmes novels, including The Case of the Missing Marquess, which was made into the hit Netflix movie, Enola Holmes. She is the author of more than 50 other books for children and adults. She has won many awards, including two Edgar Awards, and has been published in more than thirty countries. She lives in Florida.

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Here is an Excerpt From “Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche”

“Is she fainted?” 

Indignant, I wanted to sit up and say I was not so easily killed and I never fainted, but to my surprise my body would not obey me. I merely stirred and murmured. 

“She’s moving.” 

I saw the clodhopper boots of common men surrounding me and smelled alcohol on the breath of those leaning over me. 

“Let’s get ’er inside.” 

“Somebody go fer the doctor.” 

Strong hands, not ungentle, seized me by the feet and shoulders. I could have kicked and yelled—I felt strong enough now—but my mind had started to function, realizing that I was about to be carried into a pub, for only in a public house, or pub, would workmen be drinking in the daytime. And normally no woman of good repute would enter a pub, or if she did, she would be jeered at until she retreated. But, my avid brain realized, fate in the form of Jezebel had given me opportunity to spend some time inside a pub—no, in the pub, most likely the only pub in Threefinches! So I closed my eyes and pretended to be rather more helpless than I was as the men hauled me inside and laid me down on a high-backed bench by the hearth. 

Someone brought something pungent in lieu of smelling salts, but I shook my head, pushed the malodourous hand away, opened my eyes, and sat up, acting as if it were a great effort for me to do so. A burly, bearded man in an apron, undoubtedly the publican who kept the place, came running with a pillow for my back, and I thanked him with a gracious smile. 

“Will ye have a nip of brandy, lydy?” 

“No, thank you. Water, please.” 

“Jack! Water for the lydy!” he bellowed to some underling, and he remained nearby as I managed, with hands that genuinely trembled, to remove my gloves. Their thin kidskin leather was ruined by the mauling it had taken from Jezebel’s reins, and my hands were red and sore; doubtless they would bruise. Grateful for the cool glass, I held it in both hands and sipped, looking around me. Half of the denizens of the place, like the owner, stood in a semicircle staring at me not unpleasantly, while the rest did the same from seats at the rustic tables—all but one. A tall man with beard stubble on his chin and quite a shock of coarse brownish-grey hair hiding his forehead had withdrawn to a table by the wall, where he devoted his attention to his mug of ale, or stout, or whatever noxious brew he might fancy. I said brightly to the tavern-keeper, “I believe I would like to stand up.” 

“Now, why not wait for the doctor, lydy—” 

But taking hold of his arm, as he stood within my reach, I got to my feet with reasonable steadiness. There were muted cheers from the onlookers. Nodding and simpering at the men all around me, I lilted, “Thank you so much. Do you suppose anyone could go out and fetch my bag, and my hat and parasol? I believe they fell along the—” 

Already half a dozen would-be heroes were stampeding towards the door. Yet, if I had walked in here under my own power, any request for help would have been met with deepest suspicion. Such is life: odd.