Book Review · Giveaway · Tour

Book Review and Blog Tour – The Fog by Amanda McKinney

The Fog
Amanda McKinney
(A Berry Springs Novel)
Publication date: December 4th 2018
Genres: Adult, Mystery, Romance

Former Marine turned ballistics expert, Wesley Cross is known around town for two things, his rugged good-looks and cocky attitude—until he finds his ex-girlfriend lying in a puddle of blood in his basement. The scene screams setup, but the discovery of a rare gem and a puzzling autopsy suggests the murder goes much deeper than that. Wesley will do whatever it takes to clear his name, including calling in a notoriously headstrong—and sexy—scientist.

While most little girls were playing dress up, Gwyneth Reece was digging in the dirt collecting bugs. Now one of the top forensic entomologists in the country, Gwen reluctantly accepts a job from a pushy cowboy and travels to the small, Southern town of Berry Springs. Heavy storms are brewing, and when she’s forced to check into the creepiest hotel she’s ever seen, she instantly regrets her decision to help out the former Marine.

Following up on a tip, Wesley heads to the Half Moon Hotel but quickly realizes his visit was not by chance. The killer lured him there, and suddenly everyone from the uptight bellman to the wealthy couple just passing through town become suspect. Bodies begin to disappear, and Wesley knows the killer will do anything to get to him…. including hurting the woman who’s kept his head spinning since he first laid eyes on her.

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The Fog is the first book I have read my Amanda McKinney, but it won’t be my last. I seriously could not put this book down.
I am a sucker for a great mystery. Throw in some romance, and I’m a goner. This is just what Ms. McKinney has accomplished.
From the start, I had to keep turning pages to see what was coming next. Nothing is as it seems, and when a grisly murder takes place in the home of one of the town’s beloved men five years after two disturbing murders, it is apparent that Wes is being set up, but by whom, and why!?!?!
When Gwen, one of the leading forensic entomologists of the day, is brought in, she brings a clue to light that has Wes’ head spinning.
The characters are very well-deserved, the chemistry between them is sizzling and the story-line is so engaging!
This is a must-read for mystery lovers – the perfect blend of suspense, intrigue and romance!

Author Bio:

Award-winning author of romantic suspense and mystery, Amanda McKinney wrote her debut novel, LETHAL LEGACY, after walking away from her career to become a writer and stay-at-home mom. Set in small, Southern towns, Amanda’s books are page-turning murder mysteries peppered with steamy love scenes, and include the BERRY SPRINGS SERIES and the BLACK ROSE MYSTERY SERIES, with many more to come.

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Book Review · Giveaway · Tour

Book Review and Blog Tour – Death by the River by Alexandrea Weis and Lucas Astor


Death by the River
Alexandrea Weis & Lucas Astor
Published by: Vesuvian Books
Publication date: October 2nd 2018
Genres: Horror, Young Adult

A high school “American Psycho.”

SOME TRUTHS ARE BETTER KEPT SECRET.

SOME SECRETS ARE BETTER OFF DEAD.

Along the banks of the Bogue Falaya River, sits the abandoned St. Francis Seminary. Beneath a canopy of oaks, blocked from prying eyes, the teens of St. Benedict High gather here on Fridays. The rest of the week belongs to school and family—but weekends belong to the river.

And the river belongs to Beau Devereaux.

The only child of a powerful family, Beau can do no wrong. Handsome. Charming. Intelligent. The star quarterback of the football team. The “prince” of St. Benedict is the ultimate catch.

He is also a psychopath.

A dirty family secret buried for years, Beau’s evil grows unchecked. In the shadows of the ruined St. Francis Abbey, he commits unspeakable acts on his victims and ensures their silence with threats and intimidation. Senior year, Beau sets his sights on his girlfriend’s headstrong twin sister, Leslie, who hates him. Everything he wants but cannot have, she will be his ultimate prize.

As the victim toll mounts, it becomes crystal clear that someone has to stop Beau Devereaux.

And that someone will pay with their life.

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What a fantastic read! I first became familiar with the writings of Alexandrea Weis and Lucas Astor when I read the Magnus Blackwell series, so I had to read this. I was not disappointed in the least.

True to form, the story takes place in Louisiana, and is steeped in local culture. With well-developed characters and a story line that moves at a very rapid pace, it will keep you turning pages to find out what happens next.

It is fairly gruesome, as rape and brutal assault take center stage in this book. Beau Devereux, golden boy, star quarterback, and heir to the family dynasty has an extremely dark side, reveling in controlling and causing pain. While I didn’t care for the subject matter and it was difficult to read about such violent acts, I had to know what would take place.

I will caution you that if you are highly sensitive to that, this is not the read for you. If you have the fortitude to handle it and want to dive into the darker side of life, you are in for a treat.

Author Bio:

Lucas Astor is from New York, has resided in Central America and the Middle East, and traveled through Europe. He lives a very private, virtually reclusive lifestyle, preferring to spend time with a close-knit group of friends than be in the spotlight.

He is an author and poet with a penchant for telling stories that delve into the dark side of the human psyche. He likes to explore the evil that exists, not just in the world, but right next door behind a smiling face.

Photography, making wine, and helping endangered species are just some of his interests. Lucas is an expert archer and enjoys jazz, blues, and classical music.

One of his favorite quotes is: “It’s better to be silent than be a fool.” ~Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird)

Alexandrea Weis is an advanced practice registered nurse who was born and raised in New Orleans. Having been brought up in the motion picture industry, she learned to tell stories from a different perspective and began writing at the age of eight. Infusing the rich tapestry of her hometown into her award-winning novels, she believes that creating vivid characters makes a story memorable. A permitted/certified wildlife rehabber with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, Weis rescues orphaned and injured wildlife. She lives with her husband and pets in New Orleans.

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Book Review

Book Review – The Women on Retford Drive by Alretha Thomas

Synopsis

Julia Pritchard, an aging sitcom star making a comeback, and her stepdaughter, Blythe Pritchard, an aspiring attorney, form a pact to start fresh and pursue their dreams. But their plans go awry when Keith Pritchard, Julia’s soon-to-be ex-husband and Blythe’s father, goes missing and is presumed dead, the day they plan to move out of his mansion.

The women are filled with bittersweet emotions when they consider the idea that Keith, a tycoon and functional alcoholic, could be out of their lives for good. Moreover, they fear the police will name them as persons of interest because of the abuse they suffered at Keith’s hands. Julia believes Keith hasn’t met with foul play but orchestrated his own disappearance, hoping the women will be blamed. However, Blythe believes her father is dead. When the police reveal a damning piece of evidence, which could result in one of them being charged with Keith’s possible murder, they join forces to find out what happened to him. Did one of the women go off script and kill Keith, or is another agenda at play, unbeknownst to the women and the police, that’s far more sinister?

I loved this book! I was instantly sucked into a world of wealth, privilege, and mayhem. The characters are extremely well developed and I enjoyed each and every one of them, even Dolores, the deplorable mother-in-law.

I was kept guessing from nearly beginning to end, not sure who had committed the crime, or even if a crime had really been committed. At one point in time or another, I suspected every single character.

While this book had many triggers – most especially domestic violence, I love the fact that Julia not only survived, but overcame and was able to live a fulfilling life.

Book Review

Book Review – A Pilgrimage to Death by Alexa Padgett

Synopsis

They murdered her sister. They threatened her church. Now, the day of reckoning will cost her everything…

When Cici Gurule finds the dead body of a parishioner in the nearby Santa Fe National Forest, she’s horrified to realize the victim bears the same stab wounds that ended her twin sister’s life one year earlier.

Now, as a freewheeling, progressive reverend who’ll stop at nothing to protect her flock, she’ll need to join forces with her detective friend and loyal pair of Great Pyrenees to hunt down the killer before she’s forced to officiate another funeral.

Soon, however, Cici discovers her sister was on the trail of a deep-rooted criminal operation, and her death was no random act of violence.

With the criminals out for Cici’s blood, she needs to catch the wolf by the tail…before it goes in for the kill.

A Pilgrimage to Death is a high-octane mystery thriller. Fans of Ruth Ware, J.D. Robb, and Angela Marsons will love Alexa’s Padgett’s new edge-of-your-seat novel. Scroll up and one click today to start this fast-paced, high-octane mystery thriller!

This was the first book I have read by Alexa Padgett, but I am not sure how that can be! It was fantastic! It is the first book in a new mystery series and I found myself completely and totally immersed in the story. I have not read a mystery that I enjoyed as much in a very long time.

The characters are fascinating – Reverend Cici is brave and courageous and has such a huge heart, Sam is a hardworking police detective with a soft spot for Cici. Justin is a forensic photographer with the police department and Carol is the church secretary. There are many more great characters that caught my attention too.

There have been a string of murders and opiate overdoses in the town where CiCi ministers, one of the murders being her twin sister. CiCi can’t stop searching for answers, and in doing so, finds herself in peril.

The storyline is fast, easy to read, and I found myself turning the pages as quickly as I could to see what would happen next. I can tell you that I was kept guessing the entire time.

This is a must-read for all you mystery lovers! I cannot wait until the 2nd book in the series comes out so I can see what more trouble Reverend CiCi can get herself into.

Book Review · Tour

Book Review and Blog Tour – Deadly Games by Karen Rock



Deadly Games
Karen Rock
(Dallas After Dark)
Publication date: July 17th 2018
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense

ONE NIGHT ONLY
Special Agent Katherine Bowden doesn’t do girls’ nights out. She doesn’t do blazing hot dances with male strippers or unbelievable, uninhibited one-night-stands. If you ask her ex, all she does is work: study evidence, profile criminals, track them down. And now Katherine’s back home in Dallas, with a new set of all-male colleagues second-guessing her every move, and a possible serial killer hunting women just like her. But just this once, Katherine is going to try all those things she doesn’t do . . .

Growing up on the Reservation led Nash Hawkins down paths he’d rather forget. When his dream of joining the police force was crushed, he turned his hard body and wicked imagination into a meal ticket. His chemistry with Katherine is like nothing he’s ever felt. And though he’s sure a woman like her won’t want to get seriously involved with him, Nash knows things—things that might help catch a killer.

Nash and Katherine can save lives, if they put aside the desire that torments them both. But the closer they get, the more they have to lose . . .

“A highly entertaining and cohesive suspense novel with an emotionally satisfying romance that will keep readers glued to the page.”
RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars on Dangerous Moves

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Deadly Games is the first book I have read by Karen Rock, but it won’t be the last. I did not realize that it is the second book in the series until I had finished reading, so that is the perfect indication of what a great stand-alone it is.

Suspense/psychological thrillers are my favorite genres, and this book really checked all the boxes for me.

The protagonist, a kick-ass FBI agent, Katherine, has seen her share of horror in both her personal and professional lives.

Nash, a super sexy stripper with a dream of entering law enforcement moonlights as a PI. When a former client contacts him for help in finding her missing daughter, Nash and Katherine are brought together on a case.

The storyline had all kinds of interesting twists and turns that kept me engaged and interested. While I figured out quite early on who the bad guy was, there were enough twists that I wasn’t quite sure until the end (and I was right!). There were moments that I was chewing on my fingernails, moments that I laughed out loud, and I shed a few tears.

I so recommend this book to everyone, just everyone. Read it!!!

Author Bio:

Award-winning author Karen Rock is both sweet & spicy—at least when it comes to her writing! The author of YA and adult contemporary books writes spicy suspense and small-town romances. A big believer in Happily-Ever-After, Karen loves creating unforgettable stories that leave her readers smiling. Karen is an avid reader and baker who loves having the Adirondack Park as her backyard, where she lives with her husband and daughter who make her life complete.

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Book Review · New Release · Tour

Book Review and Blog Tour – Bound by Alexandrea Weis with Lucas Astor



Bound
Alexandrea Weis & Lucas Astor
(A Magnus Blackwell Novel #2)
Published by: Vesuvian Books
Publication date: April 17th 2018
Genres: Adult, Supernatural

Magnus Blackwell’s past is about to catch up with him.

An evil force has seized New Orleans. Pestilence, suffering, and darkness cloak the city. The citizens are scared and need their mambo to guide them, but Lexie Arden can’t help anyone. A diabolical presence has taken Lexie’s power and severed her ties with the other side.

Magnus Blackwell is fighting demons of his own. Torn between his devotion to Lexie and a spirit from his past, Magnus’s loyalty is put to the test. He must revisit his sins to uncover the key to the hatred ripping the city apart. If he doesn’t, Lexie’s reign as mambo will end.

Their search for answers leads them deep into the darker realms of voodoo—until a desperate Lexie does the unthinkable, and Magnus can do nothing to spare her from her fate.

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Well, you know how you love the first book in a series and can’t wait to read the second, only to be disappointed because it did not live up to your expectations? That didn’t happen in this case!

I first met Will, Lexie and Magnus in Damned (Book 1 of the series) and was captivated by their story. It was the same with Bound (book 2). I literally could not stop reading.

Lexie has been chosen by the Queen of Voodoo, Marie aka ray, as the mambo of New Orleans. She had huge shoes to fill, and peace to restore. Her gift of being able to communicate with the spirits is unparalleled.

Bad juju has taken over the city, and Lexi finds herself without her powers. Multiple tragedies strike the town and she things are going to go from really bad to worse.

Once again, I fell under the spell of these characters. Makes me wonder if Alexandrea and Lucas performed some voodoo (of the best kind) on their readers as they were writing! I am fascinated by this world that I really know nothing about. Again, the descriptions were larger than life, and I felt as if I had been transported to New Orleans.

The writing style of Alexandrea Weis and Lucas Astor is truly nothing short of brilliant and I know I will be seeking out more. I hope that there will be more to the Magnus Blackwell series!

Author Bio:

Lucas Astor is from New York, has resided in Central America and the Middle East, and traveled through Europe. He lives a very private, virtually reclusive lifestyle, preferring to spend time with a close-knit group of friends than be in the spotlight.

He is an author and poet with a penchant for telling stories that delve into the dark side of the human psyche. He likes to explore the evil that exists, not just in the world, but right next door behind a smiling face.

Photography, making wine, and helping endangered species are just some of his interests. Lucas is an expert archer and enjoys jazz, blues, and classical music.

One of his favorite quotes is: “It’s better to be silent than be a fool.” ~Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird)

Alexandrea Weis is an advanced practice registered nurse who was born and raised in New Orleans. Having been brought up in the motion picture industry, she learned to tell stories from a different perspective and began writing at the age of eight. Infusing the rich tapestry of her hometown into her award-winning novels, she believes that creating vivid characters makes a story memorable. A permitted/certified wildlife rehabber with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, Weis rescues orphaned and injured wildlife. She lives with her husband and pets in New Orleans.

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Book Review

Book Review – Uniquely Mine (A Fitz Series) by Theresa Sederholz

Publisher: Theresa Sederholz

Publication Date: November 8, 2015

Pages: 268

Synopsis

When the latest string of murders, sweeping New York City, lands on Detective Fitzgerald S. Rodriguez’s desk, the signature evidence hits too close to home. Being unable to stop the murder of his own mother has made Fitz a jaded man. Now, he will stop at nothing to protect the one he loves.

Serial killer, Mark Chambers, is like a cat that preys on unsuspecting mice for sport. When a fresh kill no longer quenches his sexual appetite, he sets his sights on Makenna Justice. The fiery-redhead, with her emerald green eyes, ignites a fire in him that he hasn’t had since his first kill.

Time is of the essence for all three of them.

Mark must feed into his desires once more without leaving a trail.

Fitz has to dig himself deep into a killer’s mind to catch him.

And Makenna?—She just has to stay alive.

This book contains scenes and/or incidents of domestic violence, which may be triggering to survivors. Intended for 18+ mature readers only. Contains strong language and sexual situations, which may be offensive to some people.

I had absolutely no idea what I was getting into when I started reading this book! What a thriller!

Fitz is an extremely complex character. Witness to his mother’s murder at the hands of his father at a very young age, he is taken in by his best friend, Andy’s parents and finds the unconditional love his life had been lacking. He grew up to be a police officer, wanting to right the injustices in the world.

Growing up, he was always MJ’s white knight, riding in to save the day just when she needed it. As a result, MJ has been in love with him since she was five years old. Knowing that love was not returned, at least not in the romantic way, and as a result of having to be the strong one for every member of her family, MJ finds herself exploring the BDSM lifestyle.

Her brother, Andy, buys the local BDSM club, and when he is diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, MJ takes over the running of the club.

Unfortunately, there is a killer on the loose and it appears he is part of the lifestyle – or he is using it as a way to throw the cops off his trail. Fitz is running out of time to determine whether or not the killer has MJ in his sights and he will do anything to protect her.

This book had me on the edge of my seat and I really struggled to put it down when life interfered. It was very well-written with well-developed characters. I would have liked to have seen Stephen’s character, Andy’s husband, developed a bit more, as he was my favorite.

The sex and violence scenes in this book are a bit graphic and not for the faint of heart. That being said, they played well into the story line and were not over-the-top.

If you are a fan of psychological thrillers, with a good dose of romance, this is the book for you!

Book Review

Broken Embrace (Embrace #3) by Dana Mason

Publisher: Dana Mason

Publication Date: May 24, 2014

Pages: 349

Synopsis

Promises Broken. Secrets Kept. Loved Renewed.

The Past…

As childhood sweethearts, Brian and Melissa’s plans were simple: finish school, get married, and live happily ever after. Unfortunately, life didn’t go as planned. Melissa went away to college, and Brian married her best friend.

The Present…

Seventeen years have passed and Brian’s stable family life has come crashing down around him. His wife’s a cheater, his teenage daughter is hiding things from him and Melissa is back in town to remind him of what he lost all those years ago.

Melissa’s returned home, ready to forgive and focus on her future, but that all changes the day she gets a desperate phone call from Brian’s daughter, Erin. Thrown back into Brian’s tumultuous life, Melissa struggles to move beyond the pain of his broken promise.

The Future…

While working together to save Erin from the evil web she’s caught in, Melissa and Brian fight to fix the past or face losing each other all over again.

I don’t know how it is possible, but Broken Embrace was phenomenal! The first two books in the Embrace Series were amazing! Dark, gritty,raw… oh hell, I could go on and on… however, nothing compared me for this kick in the face!

I was so excited to read Brian and Melissa’s story! They had been childhood sweethearts; however, when Melissa went off to college, Brian married her best friend without a word – no break-up and no closure. For seventeen years, Melissa carried deep-seated resentments towards them both.

Just when Melissa and Julie started to piece their friendship back together, Brian discovered Julie was having an affair. From that moment on, a series of tragic events started rolling its way through their lives.

Dana Mason is a masterful storyteller and she tackles difficult subject matter in a graceful way. The victims in her stories are not victims, they are courageous overcomers, survivors!

I truly feel black and blue after reading this series, especially so by this last book. I ugly cried, more than once… I smiled, and laughed a few times. Mostly, I felt deeply. It is not often that an author can get so far under my skin, but this just happened! I know that these dark, ugly things are happening every day in our world. I don’t live in a bubble, after all. I am thankful that there are authors who bring these icky subjects to light, even if it is a work of fiction, there is a lot of reality steeped in the subject matter.

This series has triggers readers need to be aware of – sexual assault, physical assault, child pornography, and even murder. Read with caution – if you can get past the triggers, you will not be disappointed!

Book Review

Book Review – Dangerous Embrace (Embrace #1) by Dana Mason

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Publication Date: November 26, 2016

Pages: 334

Synopsis

Sarah Jennings wants nothing more than a quiet life–alone.

Raised by an eccentric mother, their life on the road only taught her how to run away from hard times. When she finds herself in an abusive relationship, this lesson serves her well.

Eight years later, she’s settled back in her hometown and less fearful than she’s ever been in her life. She’s a first-grade teacher, and with few friends and less family around, she has what she wants, a quiet life under the radar where she can be free of her past and live quietly. Until one night and one brutal act of violence changes everything.

Injured and afraid, Sarah wants to run again, but Mark Summors refuses to let her go.

Mark was born and raised in Santa Rosa. He married his high school sweetheart and never questioned his life, until he found his wife with another man. Now divorced, he wants something more. He’s passionate about his job, he wants to protect people, and he devotes his life to it. This time, he’s protecting more than just another client, he’s protecting his future; at least, Sarah Jennings will be his future, once he convinces her she loves him.

When Sarah agrees to let Mark help, she doesn’t anticipate just how important of a role he’ll play in her future or how the violence in her past will come back to threaten them both.

This book was incredible! Like seriously, I couldn’t put it down! I had never read anything by Dana Mason, and when I got the chance to get my hands on this book, I was so excited!

Dangerous Embrace is the perfect blend of sweet romance, suspense, intrigue and the kind of thrills that make you hold your breath to see what happens next.

To say that Sarah has had a rough life would be a complete understatement. With a mostly absent mother, to a horrifically abusive ex-fiancé, she is nothing less than a survivor. After a rape and beating resulting in her near-death leads to the loss of her unborn child, Sarah picks up the pieces of her life and creates a new identity for herself.

When she is attacked again, and nearly raped, she literally runs into the arms of Mark, ex-cop, security specialist, and all-around good guy. Mark doesn’t leave her side in the days that follow the attack.

Escaping from her attacker sets a series of events in motion, and Sarah and Mark find themselves in a game of cat and mouse.

The characters in this book are incredibly well-developed. Sarah is just the type of protagonist that I love to read about. She is a fighter, through and through, and is completely unaware of her own strength. Mark is fiercely loyal, full of compassion, and would lay down his own life for those that he loves.

Every time I thought I had this figured out, every time I thought things would settle down and Mark and Sarah could have their HEA, the plot would take a crazy twist, and the unexpected would happen.

If you are a lover of romantic suspense, this is a definite must-read!