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Tuesday, December 31, 2019

December Mini Musings



Strangers at the Gate:  This was an OK thriller.  The ending was a fairly far fetched and pretty convoluted and I didn't love it.  I didn't really care for any of the characters. I probably should have DNF'd it, but it was short.   I wouldn't recommend this one.

Wicked Deeds:  This is the 23rd Krewe of Hunters book and the second with Griffin and Vickie as the main focus.  I think they are also in one more.  I actually did like the mystery.  However, I didn't love the Edgar Allen Poe ghost plot line.  I thought it was a little cheesy.  Despite that, this was en enjoyable addition to the series.

Just Neighbors:  Even though this is the fourth book in a series, it worked well as a stand alone.  I did like the romance between Kyle and Chloe.  They were enemies to lovers and I loved their banter.  However, I HATED a decision that the author made regarding a side character.  I felt like it was a lazy plot device to get emotion out of the reader.  Because of that, the story was kind of ruined for me. 

Knocked up by the CEO:  This was another "meh" romance for me. I didn't really love the couple or their relationship.  The overall story was kind of forgettable.  I DNF'd the next book in the series, so I probably won't read any more from the series.

Keep Me Safe: I didn't love this one.  It was supposed to be a romantic suspense with a little bit of paranormal thrown in.  Honestly, I kept feeling like I was missing something.  We are thrown right in at the beginning with literally no back story.  The connection between the couple wasn't there for me.  I also didn't love the whole psychic plot line.  I felt like it made the heroine kind of weak and whiny.

On the Corner of Love and Hate:  Finally, I romance I could get behind.  I really enjoyed this frienemies to lovers romance.  I had a lot of fun watching Emma realize her feelings for Cooper.  The only thing I wish it had was Cooper's perspective.  It would have added so much more to the story. I highly recommend this one.

Monday, December 30, 2019

DNFs for December



Ninth House:  I tried a couple of times to read this book.  I was so confused the entire time I was listening to the audio.  I felt like I walked into the middle of a movie with no idea what was going on.  Ultimately, I decided it wasn't worth it to try to figure it out.

The Flatshare:  I really didn't like this book at all.  I got about 30% in and gave up.  I found Tiffy really annoying.  I mean I get that her boyfriend dumped her and had moved on, but she literally never did.  She was really whiny.  I also didn't love Leon's point of view.  the writing in those sections was weird and pulled me out of the story.  Also, he was already dating someone and since this  book that was supposed to be a romance, I found that aspect really icky.

Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake:  Iw as surprised at all of the good ratings for this book.  I hated the characters.  There was no chemistry between the main characters.  I got halfway through and gave up.

The Night Circus:  I know this is a very beloved fantasy story by a lot of people.  I just didn't see it.  I found the beginning boring and confusing.  I think it's probably just a case of not being that book for me.

Killer in Me: I really liked the first book.  But I couldn't finish this one.  The mystery was really boring. The main character just became so unlikable.  There was also too much going on and I kept having to go back.  I probably won't continue with the series.

Christmas from the Heart: One thing I don't like is when a romance makes me angry.  I got 3 chapters in and had enough of the main character.  She was so rude and entitled.  I thought the way she treated Guy for not being able to donate to her charity was inexcusable.  She waited months and never showed she tried everything to fund raise. Instead she blamed it all on this one person. If your job is a charity, then you should be focused on trying everything to raise money.  It was her fault that she expected one business to fund her big event.  I had no interest in seeing if she changed.


Saturday, December 28, 2019

Blog Tour: Excerpt of The One for You by Roni Loren

Author: Roni Loren
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: 12/31/2019

The highly-anticipated fourth book in Roni Loren’s unforgettable The Ones Who Got Away series.

She got a second chance at life. Will she take a second chance at love?

Kincaid Breslin wasn’t supposed to survive that fateful night at Long Acre when so many died, including her boyfriend—but survive she did. She doesn’t know why she got that chance, but now she takes life by the horns and doesn’t let anybody stand in her way.

Ashton Isaacs was her best friend when disaster struck all those years ago, but he chose to run as far away as he could. Now fate has brought him back to town, and Ash doesn’t know how to cope with his feelings for Kincaid and his grief over their lost friendship. For Ash has been carrying secrets, and he knows that once Kincaid learns the truth, he’ll lose any chance he might have had with the only woman he’s ever loved.

Purchase Links:
IndieBound: http://bit.ly/35FDzXg


Enjoy this excerpt:

A sleepy voice came through the door. “Come in.”
Kincaid opened the door and found Ash shifting to sit up in bed, shirtless, tattooed, and with full-on bedhead. Every womanly cell in her body gave a cheer of appreciation, and she had the sudden annoying urge to tilt her head and twirl her hair like a smitten schoolgirl. Luckily, she stopped herself from that embarrassment. She wasn’t there to ogle.
“Everything all right?” Ash asked, swiping a hand across his face and trying to wake up.
Kincaid lifted the phone. “Your ex has been burning up your phone. I got aggravated and answered. Sorry. She’s still calling herself your fiancée, and I believe she wants to yell at you about something.”
Ash groaned. “Hell no. I’m not starting my day off with that. Tell her I’ll call her later or just hang up.”
“I could. Or,” Kincaid said conspiratorially, “we could have a little fun and piss her off in the process. You game?”
His eyebrows lifted, mischief in the tilt of his lips. “I could possibly be game.”
Kincaid grinned and unmuted the phone so they could be heard. “Hey there, sleepyhead,” she said in a flirty voice to Ash. “Rise and shine.”
Ash cocked his head in confusion, but when he saw the look on her face, he caught on fast. “Morning, gorgeous.”
Kincaid put a knee on the bed, knowing the guest bed squeaked and that Melanie would be able to hear and draw her own conclusions. “I know you wanted to sleep in after last night, but that Melanie woman has some sort of emergency and just couldn’t wait.”
Ash smirked, a deliciously evil look on his face. “Baby, you know you shouldn’t be answering my phone this early. We have better things to do right now.” Ash grabbed Kincaid’s wrist and tugged her forward, making her tumble onto the bed and inadvertently laugh. She landed next to him, and he lifted her arm to his mouth, kissing the tender skin of her wrist with an audible sound. On the phone, that kiss could be imagined anywhere.
Kincaid’s skin heated despite the fact that this was a farce. “You probably should take it or she’ll keep calling. I don’t want to be interrupted in the middle of anything, you know?”
Ash chuckled softly, this deep, private laugh, a lover’s laugh. It sent hot shivers through Kincaid, waking up sensations that had been dormant as of late. “Of course not. Wouldn’t want that. Give me just a minute.” He took the phone, the smile dropping from his face. “Melanie.”
Kincaid could hear the rapid-fire voice through the line and remained next to Ash on the bed. Melanie was saying something about him leaving the apartment messy when he moved out. About the landlord keeping the deposit.
Ash grunted, his tone and entire demeanor bored. “I wasn’t paying for a cleaning service to clean up after you. Just because you moved out first doesn’t mean it was my mess. You made this mess.”
More yelling on her end, the volume notching up.
“Melanie,” Ash said patiently, “clearly you feel passionately about this. I can’t say I give a shit, so that puts us at an impasse. How about you send me back your ring, and I’ll consider sending you half the deposit? Otherwise, I’ve got better things to do right now.”
Melanie’s next words were clear as a bell. “Right. You probably can’t even afford the deposit. Are you back to the living-on-ramen plan, Ash? Don’t have your woman’s money to use up now? Or did you just find a new one to pay the rent?”
Ash’s teeth clenched, his skin flushing red from the neck up—the words a match to a fuse. Kincaid saw what was happening, the fire racing up through him. She’d been there. That moment when an ex or a bully gets the best of you, and you stoop to their level. You lose your shit and end up looking like the dumb one or the hysterical one or the one who still cares too much. No way was she letting Melanie win this round. Without thinking, she scrambled to sit up and then swung her leg over Ash’s middle, straddling him.
Ash’s lips, which had been parted to yell, froze in almost comic silence. His shocked gaze jumped up to Kincaid’s, her ambush plan working to stop him in his tracks. She took the phone from him and put it to her ear. “Hey, sugar, time’s up. And I can promise you, neither of us are here for each other’s money. Don’t call again. Bye now.”
Melanie gasped. “Kincaid.
Kincaid bit her lip, not sure if it was good for Melanie to know her identity and to think she and Ash were together, but that cat was already bolting away from the bag, too far to catch.
“Ugh,” Melanie said into the phone. “I should’ve known. He always had a taste for the cheap stuff.”
Kincaid smiled, almost entertained. Oh, sweet, misguided Melanie. If Melanie were here, she’d pat her on the hand and shake her head at the lame attempt. The woman was going to have to do better than that to get under her skin. “Oh, bless your heart. It’s so cute when women try to throw other women under the bus just because a guy’s involved—or in your case, two guys. Really moves that feminist needle forward, don’t you think? You should burn a bra.”
“You—”
“Enjoy your new relationship, sugar,” Kincaid said, cutting her off. “I hope you two are made for each other in every way.”
Melanie was silent, and Kincaid took the opportunity to hang up.
She tossed the phone to the side and braced her hands on either side of Ash on the bed. “Well, if you needed a sign that things aren’t going so well with her new guy, that was a clear one. If she were happy, she wouldn’t give a damn about a couple hundred dollars of a deposit, especially when she has money. And she certainly wouldn’t care if you were sleeping with me—”
“Kincaid.”
“And I know I probably shouldn’t have answered. But she wouldn’t let up, and I just couldn’t help it and—”
Kincaid—” Ash said more urgently.
“What?”
“You need to—” He grabbed her by the waist, shifting to hoist her off him, but before he could, she sucked in a breath as she became all too aware of the distinct firmness beneath her.
“Oh shit,” she said, rolling herself off him as if he’d caught fire.
Ash made a pained sound and fell back against the pillow. “Yeah, that.”
“I…uh.” Her cheeks burned as she sat up.
Ash pulled the covers higher and shifted onto his side so the blanket wouldn’t reveal his current condition. He gave her a droll look as he propped his head on his hand. “I really appreciate the effort to irritate my ex, I do. But maybe don’t straddle a guy first thing in the morning. Little hard to control things.”
Kincaid couldn’t stop a snort from escaping. “Did you just say a little hard?”
Ash gave her a you’ve-got-to-be-kidding-me look and then hit her with a pillow.
She laughed as she defended herself from the blow and then couldn’t stop, the laughter bubbling up from deep in her belly. “A little hard,” she said between laughs. “Maybe more than a little. I mean, give yourself some credit.”

***
Excerpted from The One for You by Roni Loren. © 2019 by Roni Loren. Used with permission of the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved.

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About the author:


Roni Loren wrote her first romance novel at age fifteen when she discovered writing about boys was way easier than actually talking to them. Since then, her flirting skills haven’t improved, but she likes to think her storytelling ability has. She holds a master’s degree in social work and spent years as a mental health counselor, but now she writes full time from her cozy office in Dallas, Texas where she puts her characters on the therapy couch instead. She is a two-time RITA Award winner and a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. Visit her online at roniloren.com.


Friday, December 27, 2019

Blog Tour: Excerpt of Love by Chance by Kacy Cross


Author: Kacy Cross
Publisher: Hallmark Publiushing
Publication Date: December 31, 2019

She thinks meeting him must’ve been fate. It wasn’t.
Claire, a pastry chef struggling to make her restaurant succeed, is too busy to pursue romance. That doesn’t stop her loving but meddling mother, Helen, from setting her up on dates. Even after Helen promises to stop her matchmaking efforts, she can’t help herself. She convinces Eric, a pediatrician, to meet Claire at a gallery event.

Eric and Claire feel an immediate connection, and their meeting becomes a magical first date. But the longer Eric and Claire see each other, the less comfortable Eric feels about hiding the fact that Claire’s mom set them up. Meanwhile, Claire loves to talk about how she trusts Eric, and how they met by chance. How will she react to the truth?

This witty, sweet romance includes a free Hallmark original recipe for Claire’s Coconut Lime Tarts.

Get Your Copy Today:

Enjoy this excerpt:

As she crossed her condo to fetch her bag, the answering machine clicked on. Th e machine was old-fashioned, but it still worked, so she hadn’t seen a reason to get rid of it. A disembodied male voice fl oated from it. “Hi, Claire. You don’t know me, but your mother suggested I give you a call.” “Seriously?” she said to the machine and made a face at it. Claire didn’t bother to pick up the phone. Any guy who’d take her mother up on her matchmaking schemes did not deserve a second of Claire’s attention. Th e disembodied voice continued. “Maybe we could grab dinner tomorrow night? My name is Peter Bloom. Call me back, let me know.” “No.” Not just no. Never. “My number is 256—”

Claire grabbed her jacket and slammed the door of her condo for good measure, right as the answering machine clicked off. When she got to the bakery, she buzzed straight past all of Marco’s stellar decorations and cornered her mother in the kitchen. “Who is Peter Bloom?” At least Helen had the grace to look slightly chagrined, but definitely not chagrined enough for the crime in question, at least not as far as Claire was concerned. “Peter, yes.” Her mother smoothed her hair selfconsciously. “He came to an open house of mine. He didn’t end up buying. But a single man shopping for a four-bedroom? I guess he wants to start a family.” Claire rolled her eyes, because really? Maybe he wanted to start a hotel for dogs. Unless he’d expressly told her mother that he was looking for a wife to go along with his house, Helen needed to butt out. “Mom, you have to stop setting me up.” Especially with men Claire had never met. Or men she had met. Men she’d dated a few times and had lost interest in. All of them were off limits.

 Claire wheeled toward the sink to dump the plate she’d snagged as her excuse for being in the kitchen, instead of out front ensuring everything was running smoothly. Which was where she should be instead of back here telling her mom yet again to lay off. Helen followed her to the sink, still making excuses for her overbearing behavior. Still fussing over Claire with maternal concern practically dripping from her expression. Her mom reached out to adjust the neckline of Claire’s dress. “Oh, Claire, pretty soon your dad and I are going be off traveling the globe, and if he has his way, we are not going to be home much. I hate the idea of you being alone.” “I’m not alone! I am here, at the bakery, twentyfour/seven, which is exactly where I want to be. There’s plenty of time for me to find someone and fall in love.” It wasn’t that Claire hated the idea of meeting someone. It was just… Well, she wanted to meet someone. Like, literally meet them, in a special, fatefilled way that would clue her in instantly that she’d met The One.

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About Kacy Cross:

“I write romance novels starring swoon-worthy heroes that you can share with your daughter, the ladies at church, and your grandmother. I live in Texas, where I’m raising two mini-ninjas alongside the love of my life who cooks while I write, which is my definition of a true hero.

Come for the romance, stay for the happily ever after. My books will make you laugh, cry and swoon–cross my heart.”

Connect with Kacy:


Thursday, December 26, 2019

Review: Don't Say a Word by Amber Lynn Natusch

Author: Amber Lynn Natusch
Publisher: Tor Teen
Date of publication:  September 2019

Kylene Danners’s ex-FBI agent father is in prison for murder and she’s hell-bent on getting him out. But trying to investigate in the small town where a defensive lineman is a hero no matter who he tries to kill and the girl who gets him locked up is public enemy number one is dangerous. Dark secrets are everywhere in Jasperville—the kind Ky can’t walk away from.

When rookie FBI agent Cedric Dawson returns to town to finish an open investigation, he goes undercover at her high school—as her ex. Determined to keep her from interfering, Dawson’s plan backfires after Ky gets an anonymous call about missing girls officially labeled as runaways—runaways that didn’t really run away at all.

Because dead girls can’t run.

And they don’t say a word.


Don't Say a Word is the follow-up to Dare You to Lie.  It picks up pretty much right after the events of that book.  Kylene is dealing with the aftermath of the secrets she uncovered and is also going to be "fake dating" FBI Agent Dawson as he goes undercover in the high school. He is determined to get behind what is happening to a potential sex trafficking ring. While I didn't love this one as much as the first book, it was still an entertaining mystery. 

For the most part, the book was a fairly solid second book in a series.  We get to learn a bit more about the characters, especially Kylene.  I really enjoyed her character.  While she is only 17, she has a fairly good head on her shoulders and a drive to do the right thing and uncover secrets in her small town.  What I didn't love was the way the people in the high school treated her after the events of the first book.  I mean she was almost murdered, yet they blame her for all of the events.  That just didn't ring true to me.  I also am not a fan of the almost, kind of love triangle that seems to be going on in the series.  Kylene is only 17 almost 18 and Dawson is at least 25.  The age difference makes me uncomfortable and I would much prefer she focus on her HS relationship instead.

All of that being said, that were a couple of twists that genuinely surprised me and helped to bring up my rating.  The book ends with some things still not resolved from the first book, so hopefully those will be wrapped up in the next one.  


Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Merry Christmas!!



Wishing our readers a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.  May the joy and peace from the season stay with you always.

Love, Autumn & Kari

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Kari's Top 10 Reads of 2019

In no paticular order, I present the top 10 books I read in 2019.




The Kill Club by Wendy Heard

Dirty Letters by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward

The Widow of Rose House by Diana Biller









Death of Darkness by Dianne Duvall

Capturing the Devil by Kerri Maniscalco

Twelve Nights at Rotter House by J.W. Ocker






The Passengers by John Marrs

Sisters of Summer's End by Lori Foster

Diamond in the Rough by Jen Turano

Justified by Jay Crownover

Monday, December 23, 2019

Blog Tour: Review of Meet Me on Love Lane by Nina Bocci


Author: Nina Bocci
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: December 10, 2019

From the USA TODAY bestselling author of On the Corner of Love and Hate comes a romantic comedy about a woman who grudgingly returns home to small-town Pennsylvania, only to find herself falling in love—not only with the town, but with two of its citizens. 

Charlotte Bishop is out of options in New York City. Fired, broke, and blacklisted by her former boss, she’s forced to return to her hometown of Hope Lake, PA to lick her wounds. Although she’s expecting to find a miserable place with nothing to do, she is pleasantly surprised to discover it is bustling and thriving.

She’s only supposed to be in Hope Lake temporarily until she can earn enough money to move back to New York. She’s not supposed to reconnect with her childhood friends or her beloved grandmother. She’s not supposed to find her dream job running the local florist shop. And she’s definitely not supposed to fall for not one but two of Hope Lake’s golden boys: one the beloved high school English teacher, the other the charming town doctor.

With a heart torn between two men and two cities, what’s a girl to do?

My thoughts:

Meet Me on Love Lane is the second book in the Hope Lake series.  I really enjoyed the first book (review coming soon for On the Corner of Love and Hate) and was looking forward to this one.  One thing I love about romance books is when I find a new book boyfriend.  I loved Henry.  He was quiet and gentle and just what Charlotte thought she didn't want.  While I struggled at first to believe that Charlotte would have no memories of Henry, as the story unfolded, I could see how she would block out that part of her life.  The mind is a tricky thing.  But it was endearing watching her slowly remember how important Henry used to be to her.

The romance between Charlotte and Henry is a slow burn.  There is a kind of love triangle, but it's not annoying as so many are. The romance part is really secondary to the coming home storyline.  Charlotte is out of a job and searching for her place in the world. So it's more about her figuring out what comes next and reconnecting with the life she could have had if only she hadn't been taken away from Hope Lake when she was ten.  I definitely recommend this series.  Each works well as a stand alone.  I look forward to Nick's story next.

Buy Links:

About Nina Bocci

Nina Bocci is a USA TODAY bestselling novelist who loves reading and writing about swoony, relatable heroes and smart, witty heroines. If it’s set in a small town, even better. You can always find her chatting on social media about her massive, crazy Italian family, and her favorite person in the world, her son.

Connect with Nina

Nina Bocci’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:
Monday, December 2nd: Bookchickdi
Wednesday, December 4th: Reading Reality
Thursday, December 5th: Read Love Blog – review and guest post
Friday, December 6th: The Sassy Bookster – guest post
Tuesday, December 10th: @lifeinlit
Tuesday, December 10th: @everlasting.charm – reposted at @tlcbooktours
Friday, December 13th: @inquisitivebookworm
Tuesday, December 17th: Nurse Bookie and @nurse_bookie
Wednesday, December 18th: Hallie Reads
Thursday, December 19th: Girl Who Reads
Friday, December 20th: Tar Heel Reader and @tarheelreader
Monday, December 23rd: From the TBR Pile – review and guest post
Monday, December 23rd: Thoughts on This ‘n That – review and guest post
Tuesday, December 24th: Jathan & Heather – review and guest post
Thursday, December 26th: Openly Bookish
Friday, December 27th: Not in Jersey and @notinjersey
Monday, December 30th: All Roads Lead to the Kitchen
Monday, December 30th: Broken Teepee – guest post
Tuesday, December 31st: Books & Bindings
Thursday, January 2nd: Kahakai Kitchen
Friday, January 3rd: What is That Book About
Monday, January 6th: The Romance Dish
Tuesday, January 7th: Bookish Bliss and Beauty and @bookishblissandbeauty
Wednesday, January 8th: Kritter’s Ramblings
TBD: Monday, December 9th: @pieladybooks

Cover Reveal for Just A Little More by Allie York



We are so excited to share the cover for JUST A LITTLE MORE by Allie York, the first book in the second season of 425 Madison Avenue. Check out this amazing cover for a must-read accidental pregnancy romance! 

Title: Just A Little More
Author: Allie York
Release Date: 1/13/20
Series: 425 Madison Ave, #10
Genres: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis:

Piper
Dream career - check.
Amazing luxury apartment - check.
Stable relationship (with the sexiest man ever) - check.
I finally have my life together. Or I did until the universe decided to throw one heck of a curveball.
Nothing could prepare me for the rollercoaster I’ve boarded.

Derek
Move from Alabama to NYC - check.
Job at the hottest restaurant in the city - check.
Stable relationship (with the sexiest woman ever) - check.
Five years after my last heartbreak and I’m finally living my best life.
Everything is perfect, until the surprise of a lifetime.
My future and my past collide, turning my world upside down -when I’m finally starting to get things right.

Piper and Derek are in for just a little more - after all, 425 Madison is the perfect place to fall in love!

 Add to Goodreads!


Don’t Miss Just Swipe Right by Allie York from the first season of 425 Madison Ave.

"This is a super cute, fun book. Light-hearted, sweet rom-com that will have you just waiting for these two to call it official." —Let's Read Romance on Just Swipe Right.


 Only on Amazon + Read for FREE on Kindle Unlimited



About the author

Allie is a mom and dog groomer by day. At night she is posted at her laptop writing or reading in a cozy corner. She has a soft spot for gooey romance, over-creamed coffee, and anything cute and furry.



Welcome to 425 Madison Ave the perfect place to fall in love. Nine delicious romances set in fast-paced & sexy NYC just waiting for you to read.

This season will feature some new authors as well as some of season one's favs. Back for season two is Allie York, Leigh Lennon, MK Moore, Aubree Valentine, Lauren Helms, and Katy Ames. Plus a warm welcome to KC Enders, Jennifer Rebecca, and Marcie Shumway!

Not only do we have a sexy mix of new and returning authors, prepare for pages packed with new romances, characters, and tropes all from the same well-loved high-rise apartment building in NYC.

Make sure to follow the 425 Madison Avenue Facebook page for more on release dates, cover reveals and author spotlights. For exclusive excerpts, giveaways, and news subscribe to our 425 Madison newsletter!



Newsletter ➝ http://eepurl.com/gaz8fL

Check out the Season One and get caught up today! You can read all nine books for FREE with Kindle Unlimited ➝ https://rebrand.ly/425MadisonAmz


This series and all promotional events are brought to you by Forever Write PR - Forever your source for all your writing needs. https://www.facebook.com/ForeverWritePR/

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Review: The Darkness by Ragnar Jonasson


Author: Ragnar Jonasson
Publisher: Minatour Books
Publication date: October 2018

The body of a young Russian woman washes up on an Icelandic shore. After a cursory investigation, the death is declared a suicide and the case is quietly closed.

Over a year later Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdóttir of the Reykjavík police is forced into early retirement at 64. She dreads the loneliness, and the memories of her dark past that threaten to come back to haunt her. But before she leaves she is given two weeks to solve a single cold case of her choice.

She knows which one: the Russian woman whose hope for asylum ended on the dark, cold shore of an unfamiliar country. Soon Hulda discovers that another young woman vanished at the same time, and that no one is telling her the whole story. Even her colleagues in the police seem determined to put the brakes on her investigation. Meanwhile the clock is ticking.

Hulda will find the killer, even if it means putting her own life in danger.

This review is going to be a bit spoilery, so if you have any interest in reading it, then just scroll on past.  In The Darkness, Hulda is a detective who is being forced into retirement.  She has the opportunity to try to close one last case.  For the most part, I did enjoy the mystery  I also enjoyed Hulda's character.  I liked her as a detective and she was a character I would love to read more about.

Which brings me to the biggest issue I have with this book.  The ending.  Why did the author choose to end the book like that?  It is the first book in a series.  I looked and the other books have the same character only years before when she was at the height of her career.  It just makes no sense to me and did not make me want to on to read the other two books.  It's how I feel about the upcoming Black Widow movie.  Why would I want to see that movie knowing what happened to her character in Avengers: End Game?    It has good reviews on Goodreads, so maybe it's just a case of not for me syndrome.



Saturday, December 21, 2019

Review: Diary of an Accidental Wallflower by Jennifer McQuiston

Author: Jennifer McQuiston
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: February 2015

Pretty and popular, Miss Clare Westmore knows exactly what (or rather, who) she wants: the next Duke of Harrington. But when she twists her ankle on the eve of the Season’s most touted event, Clare is left standing in the wallflower line watching her best friend dance away with her duke.

Dr. Daniel Merial is tempted to deliver more than a diagnosis to London's most unlikely wallflower, but he doesn’t have time for distractions, even one so delectable. Besides, she's clearly got her sights on more promising prey. So why can’t he stop thinking about her?

All Clare wants to do is return to the dance floor. But as her former friends try to knock her permanently out of place, she realizes with horror she is falling for her doctor instead of her duke. When her ankle finally heals and she faces her old life again, will she throw herself back into the game?

Or will her time in the wallflower line have given her a glimpse of who she was really meant to be?


I was in the mood for a historical romance and Diary of an Accidental Wallflower hit the spot.  The story involves Clare who has her sights set on snagging a duke as a husband.  However, when she sprains her ankle,she finds herself on the wallflower line, her friends conspiring against her and a handsome doctor who becomes a temptation.

One of the best parts of a book is when the main character ends up growing over the course of the story.  Thankfully, Clare does some major growing up in this story.  I really did not like her in the beginning.  She was kind of stuck up and unlikable.  I did love Daniel from the start.  They did have great chemistry and was rooting for them.  The other characters were fun and added a lot of comic relief to the story.  There are also a couple of surprises toward the end that I very much enjoyed.  I look forward to reading the next one in the series.


Friday, December 20, 2019

Blog Tour: Review & Excerpt of The Kill Club by Wendy Heard


Author: Wendy Heard
On Sale Date: December 17, 2019
9780778309031, 0778309037
Trade Paperback
$15.99 USD, $19.99 CAD
Fiction / Thrillers / Psychological
368 pages

Jazz can’t let her younger brother die.

Their foster mother Carol has always been fanatical, but with Jazz grown up and out of the house, Carol takes a dangerous turn that threatens thirteen-year-old Joaquin’s life. Over and over, child services fails to intervene, and Joaquin is running out of time.

Then Jazz gets a blocked call from someone offering a solution. There are others like her, people the law has failed. They’ve formed an underground network of “helpers,” each agreeing to murder the abuser of another. They're taking back their power and leaving a trail of bodies throughout Los Angeles—dubbed the Blackbird Killings. If Jazz joins them, they’ll take care of Carol for good.

All she has to do is kill a stranger.

Jazz soon learns there's more to fear than getting caught carrying out her assignment. The leader of the club has a zero tolerance policy for mistakes.

And the punishment for disobeying orders is death.

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I have to say THe The Kill Club is one of the best thrillers I have read in 2019.  It's a hard one to review without giving away key plot points. The story is told through multiple points of view with the main focus on Jazz.  Jazz is just trying to figure out how to get her foster brother out of the clutches of their religious fanatic foster mother.  She is approached with a tempting opportunity that could solve all of her problems.  But, it comes at a cost that she isn't sure she is willing to pay.  The use of multiple view points really worked for the story.  It helped move the plot along while giving away key information just at the right pace.  If you are looking for a fast paced thriller with several twists and a chilling ending, I highly recommend this one.


Enjoy this excerpt:

THE CEILING ABOVE the crowd sparkles with strings of golden lights. They twinkle just bright enough to illuminate the faces. I adjust a microscopic issue with my toms and run my fingers through my bangs, straightening them over my eyes. The guys are tuning up, creating a clatter of discordant notes in the monitors. When they’re done, they approach my kit for our usual last-minute debate about the set list. Dao humps his bass in his ready-to-play dance, black hair swishing around his shoulders. “Dude, stop,” Matt groans and readjusts the cable that connects his Telecaster to his pedal board.
                “Your mom loves my dancing,” Dao says.
“You dance like Napoleon Dynamite,” Matt retorts.
“Your mom dances like Napoleon Dynamite.”
Andre raises his hands. “Y’all both dance like Napoleon Dynamite, and so do both your moms, so let’s just—”
I wave a stick at them. “Guys. Focus. The sound guy is watching. We’re three minutes behind.” I have no patience for this shit tonight. This all feels extra and stupid. I should be doing something to help Joaquin. His dwindling supply of insulin sits at the front of my brain like a ticking clock.
The guys get into their spots, the distance between them set by muscle memory. Andre leans forward into the mic and drawls, “Arright DTLA, lez get a little dirty in here.” His New Orleans accent trickles off his tongue like honey.
The room inhales, anticipates, a sphere of silence.
“Two three four,” I yell. I clack my sticks together and we let loose, four on the floor and loud as hell. I’m hitting hard tonight. It feels great. I need to hit things. My heart beats in tempo. My arms fly through the air, the impact of the drums sharp in my joints, in my muscles, the kick drum a pulse keeping the audience alive. This is what I love about drumming, this forcing of myself into the crowd, making their hearts pound in time to my beat.
Dao fucks up the bridge of “Down With Me” and Andre gives him some vicious side-eye. The crowd is pressed tight up against the stage. A pair of hipsters in cowboy hats grabs a corresponding pair of girls and starts dancing with them. I cast Dao an eye-rolling look referring to the cowboy hats and he wiggles his eyebrows at me. I stomp my kick drum harder, pretending it’s Carol’s face.
The crowd surges back. Arms fly. A guy in the front staggers, falls. A pair of hands grips the stage, and a girl tries to pull herself up onto it.
Matt and Dao stop playing. The music screeches to a halt.
“What’s going on?” I yell.
“Something in the pit,” Dao calls back.
Andre drops his mic and hops down into the crowd. Dao and Matt cast their instruments aside and close the distance to the edge of the stage. I get up and join them. Together, we look down into the pit.
A clearing has formed around a brown-haired guy lying on the floor. Andre and the bouncer squat by him as he squirms and thrashes, his arms and legs a tangle of movement. Andre’s got his phone pressed to his ear and is talking into it urgently. The bouncer is trying to hold the flailing man still, but the man’s body is rigid, shuddering out of the bouncer’s grip. He flops onto his back, and I get a good look at his face.
Oh, shit, I know this guy. He’s a regular at our shows. He whines and pants, muffled words gargling from his throat. Some of the bystanders have their phones out and are recording this. Assholes.
The man shrieks like a bird of prey. The crowd sucks its whispers back into itself, and the air hangs heavy and hushed under the ceiling twinkle lights.
Andre is still talking into his phone. The bouncer lifts helpless hands over the seizing man, obviously not sure what to do.
I should see if Andre wants help. I hop down off the stage and push through the crowd. “Excuse me. Can you let me through? Can you stop recording this and let me through?”
I’m suddenly face-to-face with a man who is trying to get out of the crowd as hard as I’m trying to get into it. His face is red and sweaty, his eyes wild. “Move,” he orders me.
Dick. “You fucking move.”
“Bitch, move.” He slams me with his shoulder, knocking me into a pair of girls who cry out in protest. I spin, full of rage, and reverse direction to follow him.
“Hey, fucker,” I scream. He casts a glance over his shoulder. “Yeah, you! Get the fuck back here!”

He escalates his mission to get out of the crowd, elbowing people out of his way twice as fast. I’m smaller and faster, and I slip through the opening he leaves in his wake. Just before he makes it to the side exit, I grab his flannel shirt and give him a hard yank backward. “Get the fuck back here!” I’m loose, all the rage and pain from earlier channeling into my hatred for this entitled, pompous asshole.
I know I should rein it in, but he spins to face me and says, “What is your problem, bitch?” And that’s it. I haul back and punch him full in the jaw.
He stumbles, trips over someone’s foot and lands on his ass on the cement floor. His phone goes clattering out of his hand, skidding to a stop by someone’s foot. “The hell!”
“Oh, shit,” cries a nearby guy in a delighted voice.
“Fucking bitch,” the guy says, and this is the last time he’s calling me a bitch. I go down on top of him, a knee in his chest. I swing wild, hit him in the jaw, the forehead, the neck. He throws an elbow; it catches me in the boob and I flop back off him with a grunt of pain. He sits up, a hand on his face, and opens his mouth to say something, but I launch myself off the ground again, half-conscious of a chorus of whoops and howls around us. I throw a solid punch. His nose cracks. Satisfaction. I almost smile. Blood streams down his face.
“That’s what you get,” I pant. He crab-shuffles back, pushes off the ground and sprints for the exit. I let him go.
My chest is heaving, and I have the guy’s blood on my hand, which is already starting to ache and swell. I wipe my knuckles on my jeans.
His phone lights up and starts buzzing on the floor. I pick it up and turn it over in my hand. It’s an old flip phone, the kind I haven’t seen in years. The bright green display says Blocked.
Back in the pit, the man having a seizure shrieks again, and then his screams gurgle to a stop. I put the phone in my pocket and push through the onlookers. I watch as his back convulses like he’s going to throw up, and then he goes limp. A thin river of blood snakes out of his open mouth and trails along the cement floor.
The room echoes with silence where the screams had been. A trio of girls stands motionless, eyes huge, hands pressed to mouths.
The flip phone in my pocket buzzes. I pull it out, snap it open and press it to my ear. “Hello?”
A pause.
“Hello?” I repeat.
A click. The line goes dead.
A set of paramedics slams the stage door open, stretcher between them. “Coming through!” They kneel down and start prodding at the man curled up on the concrete. His head flops back. His eyes are stretched wide and unseeing, focused on some point far beyond the twinkling ceiling lights.
Next to him on the concrete lies something… What is it? It’s rectangular and has red and—
It’s a playing card.


Excerpted from The Kill Club by Wendy Heard, Copyright © 2019 by Wendy Heard. Published by MIRA Books. 




Author Bio: 

Wendy Heard, author of Hunting Annabelle, was born in San Francisco and has lived most of her life in Los Angeles. When not writing, she can be found hiking the Griffith Park trails, taking the Metro and then questioning this decision, and haunting local bookstores.

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