Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Review: Flight by Laura Griffin

Author: Laura Griffin
Publisher: Berkely
Publication Date:  March 2021

When former forensic photographer Miranda Rhoads moves to the seaside town of Lost Beach, she's decided to make her living as a wildlife photographer and put crime scenes behind her. But her plans are quickly upended when one morning, she comes across a couple sleeping in a canoe, entwined in an embrace. Looking closer, she realizes the man and woman aren't asleep – they've been murdered.

Detective Joel Breda sets out to find answers – not only about the unidentified victims in the marshy death scene, but also about the aloof and beautiful photographer who seems to know more about his investigation than he does.

As they begin to unravel the motivation of a merciless serial killer, Miranda and Joel must race against the clock to make an arrest before the killer can find them first.

Flight is the second book in The Texas Murder Files series.  It is loosely connected to the first book, so it really could be read as a stand alone.  This one takes place in Lost Beach.  Miranda has moved there for a few months to recoup from a taxing career as a forensic photographer.  When she stumbles upon a dead couple in a canoe, she gets pulled back in to her career.

I liked this a bit more than the first book.  I liked the romance part of it a lot more.  I felt like the couple made sense and their romance really added to the story. I really liked Joel and his fellow detectives. I felt like their comradery really felt genuine.  I know I will look forward to their stories.  I also enjoyed the mystery as it kept me guessing.  Overall, this was is worth a shot.

Friday, June 21, 2024

Review: The Reappearance of Rachel Price by Holly Jackson

Author: Holly Jackson
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: April 2024

Lights. Camera. Lies.

18-year-old Bel has lived her whole life in the shadow of her mom’s mysterious disappearance. Sixteen years ago, Rachel Price vanished and young Bel was the only witness, but she has no memory of it. Rachel is gone, long presumed dead, and Bel wishes everyone would just move on.

But the case is dragged up from the past when the Price family agree to a true crime documentary. Bel can’t wait for filming to end, for life to go back to normal. And then the impossible happens. Rachel Price reappears, and life will never be normal again.

Rachel has an unbelievable story about what happened to her. Unbelievable, because Bel isn’t sure it’s real. If Rachel is lying, then where has she been all this time? And – could she be dangerous? With the cameras still rolling, Bel must uncover the truth about her mother, and find out why Rachel Price really came back from the dead . . .

From world-renowned author Holly Jackson comes a mind-blowing masterpiece about one girl’s search for the truth, and the terror in finding out who your family really is.

Bel's motther went missing when she was s toddler.  Now, Bel is ready to graduate high school and a true crme film maker wants to tell Bel and her family's story.  Halfway into filming, her mother comes back.  Bel has an inkling that Rachel can't be rsuted and vows to get to the bottom of waht really happened.

Not going to lie, I wasn't sure if I was going to like this one in the beginning  I didn't like Bel and found her a bit whiny.  I felt for her, but hated her attitude.  Also, they were making money off of the documentary, so I didn't feel too badly.  It was their choice to do it.  The attraction between her and the camera man kind of gave me the ick and felt it wasn't necessary. Once Rachel showed back up, I found myself sucked in and began to really enjoy the book.  There were so many twists to this book that it will make your head spin. I did not see that ending coming.  It's best to go into the book only knowing what is shared in the synopsis. Stick it out and you won't be sorry. I definitely recommend this one.

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Review: The Wishing Game by Meg Shaffer

Author: Meg Shaffer
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: May 2023

 Make a wish. . . .
Lucy Hart knows better than anyone what it’s like to grow up without parents who loved her. In a childhood marked by neglect and loneliness, Lucy found her solace in books, namely the Clock Island series by Jack Masterson. Now a twenty-six-year-old teacher’s aide, she is able to share her love of reading with bright, young students, especially seven-year-old Christopher Lamb, who was left orphaned after the tragic death of his parents. Lucy would give anything to adopt Christopher, but even the idea of becoming a family seems like an impossible dream without proper funds and stability.

But be careful what you wish for. . . .

Just when Lucy is about to give up, Jack Masterson announces he’s finally written a new book. Even better, he’s holding a contest at his home on the real Clock Island, and Lucy is one of the four lucky contestants chosen to compete to win the one and only copy.

For Lucy, the chance of winning the most sought-after book in the world means everything to her and Christopher. But first she must contend with ruthless book collectors, wily opponents, and the distractingly handsome (and grumpy) Hugo Reese, the illustrator of the Clock Island books. Meanwhile, Jack “the Mastermind” Masterson is plotting the ultimate twist ending that could change all their lives forever.

. . . You might just get it.

In The Wishing Game, teaching assistant Lucy is invited to enter into a contest where she may win a copy of the latest manuscript from beloved children's author Jack Masterson.  If she can win, she knows she can sell the book and finally adopt little Christopher.

For the most part, I did enjoy the book. At the center of the book. there is a wonderful story about finding home and family.  That is ultimately what Lucy is looking for.  I  liked the games and how each contestant was forced to face their fears.  I also enjoyed the relationship between Jack and Hugo.  I thought the story was beautifully written and I was engaged the entire time.  

What I didn't love was the relationship between Lucy and Christopher.  I get that Lucy loves Christopher, but  I felt like she gave him too much false hope.  I know it was needed for the story, but I just had a hard time getting behind it.  Despite that, I do recommend this one.  It's a heartwarming story that will leave you with a smile.

Thursday, June 13, 2024

Review: The Love Shack by Lori Foster

Author: Lori Foster
Publisher: Canary Street Press (Harlequin Trade Publishing)
Publication Date:  June 2024

They’ve been trying to avoid each other.
But this town has other ideas…
When Berkley Carr opened The Love Shack Animal Haven, she thought she’d finally put her past behind her. But sometimes she feels the sting of the scandal from her youth, especially when she keeps crossing paths with her handsome neighbor. So, she keeps her head down and pours all her love into caring for animals.

Lawson Salder moved to Cemetery, Indiana, to escape from the grinding poverty of his childhood. He barely knew Berkley from their old neighborhood, but every time he sees her, the shame and pain come crashing back. He knows she’s got major baggage of her own. They're better off just avoiding each other.

But that’s downright impossible in a town full of matchmaking busybodies. Then there’s the hard-to-ignore attraction they feel every time they see each other. When the universe is conspiring to bring them together, will Berkley and Lawson let past hurts go and embrace the love they deserve?

The Love Shack is the third and, I believe, the final book in the Indiana Summers trilogy.  Once again, we are back in the small town of Cemetery, Indiana.  This book focuses on Berkley and Lawson.  Both are relatively new to the town, but they also have a history together.  Having grown up in the same town in another state, each is surprised they both ended up in Cemetery.

I loved this installment.  I was sad when it ended because I have really come to love this town and its residents.  Even Kathleen has grown on me.  But at the heart of the book are Berkeley and Lawson.  Two people who want to put the past behind them and find a place to belong.  Their story was sweet and so fun.  The relationship between Berkley and Betty was also really adorable.  Betty has shown so much growth over the series.  We also are treated to another romance in the book as well.  As with the first two books in the series, I highly recommend this one.  

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Spotlight: Excerpt from The Golden Manuscripts: A Novel by Evy Journey


The Golden Manuscripts is inspired by the real-life theft of medieval manuscript illuminations during World War II.

Title: The Golden Manuscripts: A Novel

Author: Evy Journey

Pages: 360

Genre: Historical Fiction/Women's Fiction/Mystery

goodreads add to

A young woman of Asian/American parentage has lived in seven different countries and is anxious to find a place she could call home. An unusual sale of rare medieval manuscripts sends her and Nathan—an art journalist who moonlights as a doctor—on a quest into the dark world of stolen art.  For Clarissa, these ancient manuscripts elicit cherished memories of children’s picture books her mother read to her, nourishing a passion for art.  When their earnest search for clues whisper of old thieves and lead to the unexpected, they raise more questions about an esoteric sometimes unscrupulous art world that defy easy answers.   Will this quest reward Clarissa with the sense of home she longs for? This cross-genre literary tale of self-discovery, art mystery, travel, and love is based on the actual theft by an American soldier of illuminated manuscripts during World War II.
Buy Links:

Book Excerpt:

November 2000

Rare Manuscripts

I sometimes wish I was your girl next door. The pretty one who listens to you and sympathizes. Doesn’t ask questions you can’t or don’t want to answer. Comes when you need to talk. 

She’s sweet, gracious, respectful, and sincere. An open book. Everybody’s ideal American girl. 

At other times, I wish I was the beautiful girl with creamy skin, come-hither eyes, and curvy lines every guy drools over. The one you can’t have, unless you’re a hunk of an athlete, or the most popular hunk around. Or you have a hunk of money.

But I’m afraid the image I project is that of a brain with meager social skills. The one you believe can outsmart you in so many ways that you keep out of her way—you know the type. Or at least you think you do. Just as you think you know the other two.

I want to believe I’m smart, though I know I can be dumb. I’m not an expert on anything. So, please wait to pass judgement until you get to know us better—all three of us. 

Who am I then? 

I’m not quite sure yet. I’m the one who’s still searching for where she belongs. 

I’m not a typical American girl. Dad is Asian and Mom is white. I was born into two different cultures, neither of which dug their roots into me. But you’ll see my heritage imprinted all over me—on beige skin with an olive undertone; big grey eyes, double-lidded but not deep-set; a small nose with a pronounced narrow bridge; thick, dark straight hair like Dad’s that glints with bronze under the sun, courtesy of Mom’s genes. 

I have a family: Mom, Dad, Brother. Sadly, we’re no longer one unit. Mom and Dad are about ten thousand miles apart. And my brother and I are somewhere in between.

I have no one I call friend. Except myself, of course. That part of me who perceives my actions for what they are. My inner voice. My constant companion and occasional nemesis. Moving often and developing friendships lasting three years at most, I’ve learned to turn inward. 

And then there’s Arthur, my beautiful brother. Though we were raised apart, we’ve become close. Like me, he was born in the US. But he grew up in my father’s home city where his friends call him Tisoy, a diminutive for Mestizo that sometimes hints at admiration, sometimes at mockery. Locals use the label for anyone with an obvious mix of Asian and Caucasian features. We share a few features, but he’s inherited a little more from Mom. Arthur has brown wavy hair and green eyes that invite remarks from new acquaintances. 

Little Arthur, not so little anymore. Taller than me now, in fact, by two inches. We’ve always gotten along quite well. Except the few times we were together when we were children and he’d keep trailing me, like a puppy, mimicking what I did until I got annoyed. I’d scowl at him, run away so fast he couldn’t catch up. Then I’d close my bedroom door on him. Sometimes I wondered if he annoyed me on purpose so that later he could hug me and say, “I love you” to soften me up. It always worked.

I love Arthur not only because we have some genes in common. He has genuinely lovable qualities—and I’m sure people can’t always say that of their siblings. He’s caring and loyal, and I trust him to be there through thick and thin. I also believe he’s better put together than I am, he whom my parents were too busy to raise. 

I am certain of only one thing about myself: I occupy time and space like everyone. My tiny space no one else can claim on this planet, in this new century. But I still do not have a place where I would choose to spend and end my days. I’m a citizen of a country, though. The country where I was born. And yet I can’t call that country home. I don’t know it much. But worse than that, I do not have much of a history there. 

Before today, I trudged around the globe for two decades. Cursed and blessed by having been born to a father who was a career diplomat sent on assignments to different countries, I’ve lived in different cities since I was born, usually for three to four years at a time. 

Those years of inhabiting different cities in Europe and Asia whizzed by. You could say I hardly noticed them because it was the way of life I was born into. But each of those cities must have left some lasting mark on me that goes into the sum of who I am. And yet, I’m still struggling to form a clear idea of the person that is Me. This Me can’t be whole until I single out a place to call home. 

Everyone has a home they’ve set roots in. We may not be aware of it, but a significant part of who we think we are—who others think we are—depends on where we’ve lived. The place we call home. A place I don’t have. Not yet. But I will.

I was three when I left this city. Having recently come back as an adult, I can’t tell whether, or for how long, I’m going to stay. You may wonder why, having lived in different places, I would choose to seek a home in this city—this country as alien to me as any other town or city I’ve passed through. 

By the end of my last school year at the Sorbonne, I was convinced that if I were to find a home, my birthplace might be my best choice. I was born here. In a country where I can claim citizenship. Where the primary language is English. My choice avoids language problems and pesky legal residency issues. Practical and logical reasons, I think.

About the Author

Evy Journey writes. Stories and blog posts. Novels that tend to cross genres. She’s also a wannabe artist, and a flâneuse. Evy studied psychology (M.A., University of Hawaii; Ph.D. University of Illinois). So her fiction spins tales about nuanced characters dealing with contemporary life issues and problems. She believes in love and its many faces. Her one ungranted wish: To live in Paris where art is everywhere and people have honed aimless roaming to an art form. She has visited and stayed a few months at a time.

Author Links  

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads


Evy Journey will giving away nine $25 Amazon Gift Cards & nine boxed sets of the last 3 books in the series, Between Two Worlds! This is the way it works. Evy is touring for 6 months. At the end of each 2 month period she will be giving away 3 $25 Amazon Gift Cards and 3 boxed sets of the last 3 books in the series, Between Two Worlds. You will have a chance to win 3 times during her tour!

Terms & Conditions:

  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • Nine winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card and a boxed set of the last 3 books in the series, Between Two Worlds.
  • This giveaway starts February 5 and ends July 30.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on March 28, May 31 and July 30.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sponsored By:

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Spotlight: Excerpt from The Paris Widow by Kimberly Belle


Author: Kimberly Belle
Publication Date: June 11, 2024
ISBN: 9780778307976
Format: Trade Paperback
Publisher: Harlequin Trade Publishing / Park Row Books
Price $18.99
From USA Today bestselling author Kimberly Belle comes a deliciously twisty new thriller following a married couple vacationing in Paris whose trip takes a dark turn when the husband goes missing, dredging up secrets from both of their pasts, perfect for fans of THE PARIS APARTMENT.
When Stella met Adam, she felt like she finally landed a nice, normal guy – a welcome change from her previous boyfriend and her precarious jetsetter lifestyle with him. She loves knowing she can always depend on Adam, which is why when he goes missing during a random explosion in Paris, she panics. Right after what is assumed to be a terrorist attack, she’s interviewed live on TV by reporters, begging anyone who knows anything about her husband’s whereabouts to come forward and is quickly dubbed “The Paris Widow.”

As the French police investigate, it’s revealed that Adam was on their radar as a dealer in the black market for priceless antiquities, making deals with very high-profile and dangerous clients. Reeling from this news and growing suspicions about her husband, Stella can’t shake the feeling that she’s being followed. And with Adam assumed dead, she realizes that whoever was responsible for the bombing will come after her next. Everything – and everyone -- that Stella has tried to keep in her duplicitous past might be her only means of survival and finding out what really happened to Adam.
An irresistible and fast-paced read set in some of Europe’s most inviting locales, THE PARIS WIDOW explores how sinister secrets of the past stay with us – no matter how far we travel.
Buy Links:
Barnes & Noble



Nice, France

What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise.

—Oscar Wilde

At Nice’s Côte d’Azur Airport, the pretty woman coming down the jetway looked like every other bleary-eyed traveler. Rum­pled T-shirt over jeans with an indeterminate stain on the right thigh, hair shoved into a messy ponytail mussed from the head­rest. A backpack was slung over her right shoulder, weighed down with items that weren’t technically hers but looked like they could be. She’d sorted through them on the seven-hour flight, just long enough to make the contents feel familiar.

“Don’t lose it,” the Turkish man said when he hung it on her arm, and she hadn’t.

The jetway dumped her into the terminal, and she trailed behind a family of five, past gates stretched out like spider legs, along the wall of windows offering a blinding view of the sparkling Mediterranean, a turquoise so bright it burned her eyes. The backpack bounced against her shoulder bone, and her heart gave a quiet, little jingle.

She made it through passport control without issue, thanks to her careful selection of the agent behind the glass. A man, first and foremost. Not too old or too young, not too hand­some. A five to her solid eight—or so she’d been told by more than one man. This one must have agreed because he stamped her passport with an appreciative nod. French men were like that. One smile from a woman out of their league, and they melted like a cream-filled bonbon.

She thanked him and slid her passport into her pocket.

In it were stamps to every country in Europe and the Americas, from her crisscrosses over every continent in­cluding Antarctica, from her detours to bask on the famous beaches of Asia, Australia, the South Seas. More than once, she’d had to renew the booklet long before it expired because she’d run out of empty spots for customs agents to stamp. She was particularly proud of that, and of how she could look any way you wanted her to look, be anyone you needed her to be. Today she was playing the role of American Tourist On A Budget.

At baggage claim, she slid the backpack down an aching shoulder and checked the time on her cell. Just under six hours for this little errand, plenty of time assuming she didn’t hit any unexpected roadblocks. If she didn’t get held up at customs, if the taxi line wasn’t too long, if traffic on the A8 wasn’t too awful, which it would be because getting in and out of Monte Carlo was always a nightmare at this time of year. If if if. If she missed the flight to London, she was screwed.

A buzzer sounded, and the baggage carousel rumbled to a slow spin.

At least she didn’t look any more miserable than the people milling around her, their faces long with jet lag. She caught snippets of conversation in foreign tongues, German, Ital­ian, Arabic, French, and she didn’t need a translator to know they were bitching about the wait. The French were never in a hurry, and they were always striking about something. She wondered what it could be this time.

Thirty-eight eternal minutes later, the carousel spit out her suitcase. She hauled it from the band with a grunt, plopped the heavy backpack on top and followed the stream of tour­ists to the exit.

Walk with purpose. Look the customs agent in the eye. Smile, the fleeting kind with your lips closed, not too big or too cocky. Act breezy like you’ve got nothing to prove or to hide. By now she knew all the tricks.

The customs agent she was paired with was much too young for her liking, his limbs still lanky with the leftovers of pu­berty, which meant he had something to prove to the clus­ter of more senior agents lingering behind him. She ignored their watchful gazes, taking in his shiny forehead, the way it was dotted with pimples, and dammit, he was going to be a problem.

He held up a hand, the universal sign for halt. “Avez-vous quelque chose à déclarer?”

Her fingers curled around the suitcase handle, clamping down. She gave him an apologetic smile. “Sorry, but I don’t speak French.”

That part was the truth, at least. She didn’t speak it, at least not well and not unless she absolutely had to. And her rudi­mentary French wasn’t necessary just yet.

But she understood him well enough, and she definitely knew that last word. He was asking if she had something to declare.

The agent gestured to her suitcase. “Please, may I take a look in your luggage?” His English was heavy with accent, his lips slick with spit, but at least he was polite about it.

She gave a pointed look at the exit a few feet away. On the other side of the motion-activated doors, a line of people leaned against a glass-and-steel railing, fists full of balloons and colorful bouquets. With her free hand, she wriggled her fingers in a wave, even though she didn’t know a single one of them.

She looked back at the agent with another smile. “Is that really necessary? My flight was delayed, and I’m kind of in a hurry. My friends out there have been waiting for hours.”

Calm. Reasonable. Not breaking the slightest sweat.

The skin of his forehead creased in a frown. “This means you have nothing to declare?”

“Only that a saleslady lied to my face about a dress I bought being wrinkle resistant.”

She laughed, but the agent’s face remained as stony as ever.

He beckoned her toward an area behind him, a short hall­way lined with metal tables. “S’il vous plait. The second table.”

Still, she didn’t move. The doors slid open, and she flung an­other glance at the people lined up outside. So close yet so far.

As if he could read her mind, the agent took a calculated step to his left, standing between her and the exit. He swept an insistent arm through the air, giving her little choice. The cluster of agents were paying more attention now.

She huffed a sigh. Straightened her shoulders and gave her bag a hard tug. “Okay, but fair warning. I’m on the tail end of a three-week vacation here, which means everything in my suitcase is basically a giant pile of dirty laundry.”

Again, the truth. Miami to Atlanta to LA to Tokyo to Dubai to Nice, a blur of endless hours with crummy movies and soggy airplane food, of loud, smelly men who drank vodka for breakfast, of kids marching up and down the aisles while everybody else was trying to sleep. What she was wearing was the cleanest thing she had left, and she was still thousands of miles from home.

She let go of the handle, and the suitcase spun and wobbled, whacking the metal leg of the table with a hard clang. Let him lug the heavy thing onto the inspection table himself.

She stood with crossed arms and watched him spread her suitcase open on the table. She wasn’t lying about the laundry or that stupid dress, which currently looked like a crumpled paper bag. He picked through her dirty jeans and rumpled T-shirts, rifled through blouses and skirts. When he got to the wad of dirty underwear, he clapped the suitcase shut.

“See?” she said. “Just a bunch of dirty clothes.”

“And your other bag?”

The backpack dangling from her shoulder, an ugly Tumi knockoff. Her stomach dropped, but she made sure to hold his gaze.

“Nothing in here, either. No meat, no cheese, no forgot­ten fruit. I promise.”

She’d done that once, let an old apple sink to the bottom of her bag for a hyped-up beagle to sniff out, and she paid for it with a forty-five minute wait at a scorching Chilean airport. It was a mistake she wouldn’t make again.

“Madame, please. Do not make me ask you again.”

The little shit really said it. He really called her madame. This kid who was barely out of high school was making her feel old and decrepit, while in the same breath speaking to her like she was a child. His words were as infuriating as they were alarming. She hooked a thumb under the backpack’s strap, but she didn’t let it go.

And yet what choice did she have? She couldn’t run, not with those senior agents watching. Not with this pubescent kid and his long, grasshopper limbs. He’d catch her in a hot second.

She told herself there was nothing to find. That’s what the Turkish man had promised her with a wink and a smile, that nobody would ever know. He swore she’d cruise right on through customs. And she had, many, many times.

As she slid the backpack from her arm with another dra­matic sigh, she hoped like hell he wasn’t lying. “Please hurry.”

The agent took the bag from her fingers and emptied it out on the table. He took out the paperback and crinkled maga­zines, the half-eaten bag of nuts with the Japanese label, the wallet and the zippered pouch stuffed with well-used cosmet­ics that had never once touched her face. He lined the items up, one after the other, until the contents formed a long, neat row on the shiny metal surface. The backpack hung in his hand, deflated and empty.

She lifted a brow: See?

But then he did something she wasn’t expecting. He turned the backpack upside down, just…upended the thing in the air. Crumbs rained onto the table. A faded receipt fluttered to the ground.

And there it was, a dull but discernible scraping sound, a sudden weight tugging at the muscles in his arm, like some­thing inside the backpack shifted.

But nothing else fell out. There were no internal pockets.

“What was that?”

“What was what?” With a clanging heart, she pointed to the stuff on the table. “Can I put that back now? I really have to go.”

The agent stared at her through a long, weighted silence, like a held breath.


He slapped the backpack to the table, and she cringed when he shoved a hand in deep, all the way up to his elbow. He felt around the sides and the bottom, sweeping his fingers around the cheap polyester lining. She saw when he made contact with the source of the noise by the way his face changed.

The muscles in her stomach tightened. “Excuse me, this is ridiculous. Give it back.”

The agent didn’t let go of the backpack. He reached in his other hand, and now there was another terrifying sound—of fabric, being ripped apart at the seams.

“Hey,” she said, lunging for the backpack.

He twisted, blocking her with his body.

A few breathless seconds later he pulled it out, a small, flat object that had been sewn into the backpack lining. Small enough to fit in the palm of his hand. Almost like he’d been looking for it.

“What is this?” he said, holding it in the air between them.

“That’s a book.” It was the only thing she could think of to say, and it wasn’t just any book. It was a gold-illuminated manu­script by a revered fourteenth-century Persian poet, one of the earliest copies from the estate of an Islamic art collector who died in Germany last year. Like most of the items in his collec­tion, this one did not technically belong to him.

“I can see it’s a book. Where did you get it?”

Her face went hot, and she had to steady herself on the metal table—the same one he was settling the book gently on top of. He turned the gold-leafed paper with careful fin­gers, and her mind whirled. Should she plead jet lag? Cry or pretend to faint?

“I’ve never seen it before in my life.”

This, finally, was the truth. Today was the first time she’d seen the book with her own eyes.

The agent looked up from the Arabic symbols on the page, and she didn’t miss the gotcha gleam in his eyes. The way his shiny forehead had gone even shinier now, a million new pin­pricks of satisfied sweat. His gaze flitted over her shoulder, and she understood the gesture perfectly.

He was summoning backup.

She was wondering about French prison conditions.

His smile was like ice water on her skin. “Madame, I must insist you come with me.”


Excerpted from THE PARIS WIDOW by Kimberly Belle. Copyright © 2024 by Kimberly Belle. Published by Park Row Books, an imprint of HarperCollins.


Author Bio:
Photo Credit:
Sara Hannah Photography

Kimberly Belle worked in marketing and nonprofit fundraising before turning to writing fiction. A graduate of Agnes Scott College, Kimberly lived for over a decade in the Netherlands and currently divides her time between Atlanta and Amsterdam. She is the bestselling author of The Marriage Lie, Three Days Missing, Dear Wife, as well as The Last Breath, The Ones We Trust, Stranger in the Lake, My Darling Husband, and The Personal Assistant.
Social Links:
Author website 

Monday, June 10, 2024

Review: The Dare by Natalie Preston

Author: Natasha Preston
Publisher: Delacourte Press
Publication Date: May 2024

 I triple dog dare you . . .

As senior year comes to an end, senior pranks are just beginning. It all starts innocently enough. Marley and her friends—Atlas, Lucia, and Jesse—egg houses, set chickens free on the quad, and fill the principal’s office with glitter-filled balloons.

But when Jesse accepts a dare to drive danger alley, a ten-mile stretch of winding road that’s notorious for car wrecks, with no headlights, things take a turn for the worst.

Now, the four friends are bound by a tragic accident—and a dark secret that threatens their bright futures

The Dare is told through Marley's perspective as she takes part in the end of senior year pranks at her school.  In her high school, the senior pranks are a big deal and the ultimate way to end their high school career.  This year, the dares seem dangerous and when Marley and her friends have a dare go wrong, their futures might be in jeopardy.

I really didn't like this one.   Especially as I got to know the characters, I didn't like any of them.  This is only through Marley's perspective, however, I'm not sure I would like any of the other characters any more had I been in their heads.  The entire premise of the accident and the aftermath was very far-fetched.  There is a little twist and some "justice" in the end.  I didn't like that part. It left a bad taste in my mouth.  Without giving anything ways, I especially didn't care for Marley got away with. Maybe if I had liked her more, but I just didn't. 

Sunday, June 9, 2024

Review: Cold Fury by Toni Anderson

Author: Toni Anderson
Publisher: Toni Anderson
Publication Date: May 2024

Seven years ago, Hope Harper was a star defense attorney with a great life and a beautiful family—until she got the wrong defendant released, and he turned around and viciously slaughtered her husband and child. Since then, the only thing Hope cares about is locking bad guys behind bars where they can’t hurt anyone else. When the killer escapes from a maximum security prison during a winter storm, Hope refuses to run and hide.

The FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team is called in to protect the handful of public figures the notorious serial killer threatened. Operator Aaron Nash draws the short straw—he’ll be heading up Assistant District Attorney Hope Harper’s close protection detail.

Much to Aaron’s frustration, the cool blonde refuses to go into protective custody. As the hours and days wear on, Aaron and Hope manage a fragile truce. He begins to understand and admire the tenacious prosecutor, and the two of them begin to work together.

As the escaped serial killer’s rampage spins on, Hope knows it’s just a matter of time until he comes for her. Except something’s changed. For the first time since losing her family, she has something to live for. But is history doomed to repeat itself?

Cold Fury is the fourth book in the Cold Justice - Most Wanted series.  This one is Aaron and Hope's story. The book works very well as a stand alone book.  Characters from previous books show up here, but they only enhance to story.  Seven years before, her husband and daughter were brutally murdered after she got the wrong person off.  Now, the killer has escaped prison and Hope needs to be protected.  Aaron is the only person who can do it.

This was a great addition to the series.  I loved the chemistry between Hope and Aaron.  They both actually bring baggage to the relationship, but that really only made them stronger.  I thought Hope's grief over her loss was realistic.  The story is fast paced and kept me on my toes.  I definitely didn't see that ending coming.  I highly recommend this one.