Reviews

Book Review: Where in the Dark

Where in the Dark (A Cydney Granger Thriller Book 2),

 by Karen Millie-James

Publication: King of the Road Publishing Limited; September 4, 2017

where in the darkAbout the book: 

Two envelopes. Two Holocaust survivors. Two anonymous bearer
bonds each worth one million pounds. Corporate forensic
investigator, Cydney Granger, with help from beyond the grave,
enters a world previously unknown to her to unravel the truth
behind a web of secrets, lies, corruption, blackmail and hidden
Nazi loot as new horrors of the Third Reich come to light.

Still struggling to come to terms with the apparent death of her
husband, Captain Steve Granger, five years’ earlier, Cydney puts her
personal feelings to one side and is determined to bring to justice
an escaped Nazi criminal, Adolf Weissmuller, living under the assumed
name of Albert Whiteman, whose son is about to run for the US
presidency. Can Albert ever make amends for his crimes against
humanity, or are some actions beyond forgiveness …?

Will Cydney, along with her trusted and tough protector, former
sergeant, Sean O’Connell, also uncover the truth surrounding
her husband?

The consequences of Cydney’s investigations, stretching back
before WWII, are far reaching with the potential to bring down a
banking dynasty as she faces insurmountable odds from which
there is only one final solution.

The dramatic follow-up to The Shadows Behind Her Smile,
a compelling debut which takes the reader from the heart of Cydney’s
corporate world to the ruins of war-torn Damascus and where men
will stop at nothing to achieve their goals.

My Review:

Who, What, When, etc. 

Where in the Dark is the second novel in the Cydney Granger series, and once again brings a ton of secrets, crime, and suspense. After the death of her husband Steve years earlier, Cydney is living with her teenage twin children and her husband’s best friend, Sean, who promised Steve he would look after his family if something happened to him. Cydney’s romance with George has bloomed and they are a happy family together. 

Cydney’s close friend/father figure Rupert is back this time and refers his friends and Holocaust survivors Harold and Alfie to Cydney when they each receive one million dollar bearer bonds in the mail. The investigation into the bonds takes Cydney to West Virginia in search of who mailed the bonds and why, while Sean is investigating whether or not Steve is really dead. 

Cydney is once again contacted by spirits that not only aid in her investigation regarding the bonds but help her solve the puzzle regarding her supposedly deceased husband. 

Thoughts and Reactions

Let me begin with trigger warnings regarding this novel. There is a great deal of content regarding the mistreatment of the Jewish people during WWII. Although relevant, Karen Millie-James did a great deal of research and included this detailed research regarding the treatment of those held in concentration camps throughout the novel. 

Now, let me attempt to explain how incredible this novel is without giving spoilers, of course. Where in the Dark is a suspense/thriller, but at a higher level with a complex plot and extremely complex characters. Once Harold and Alfie contact Cydney regarding the bonds, things quickly begin unfolding leaving a trail of puzzle pieces.

The bonds are traced to a bank in West Virginia, but one that also had branches in Germany at one point. That bank is owned by an Albert Whiteman, who used to be known as Adolf Weissmuller when he was a member of the Third Reich. At ninety years old, Albert has been confessing the sins of his life and trying to seek some sort of forgiveness, however, Albert’s Nazi ties risk the future of the bank his family built, as well as his son’s future – his son being the Governor of West Virginia with plans to run as a Presidential candidate. 

Running parallel to the investigation into the bonds is the investigation into whether or not Cydney’s husband is still alive and being held by a unit of the Special Forces. Sean has been helping and caring for Cydney and the children since Steve’s “death,” but now a tension rises between them as he tries to learn what has really happened to Steve.

Back to my assertion earlier about this being a higher level suspense thriller, there is nothing simple or easy about the plot of this novel. Karen-Millie James crafted very detailed sub-plots that not only enhance the story but make it completely fascinating. Don’t get me wrong, this is a difficult read at times and not a novel that you will breeze through quickly. However, everything is tied together seamlessly as she slowly reveals the whole picture.

Something I enjoy and respect about Millie-James’ writing is her characterization. Regardless of how secondary a character appears, her writing ensures that you can see and hear this character, in addition to knowing a great deal about them. There are no blanks or question marks after reading this novel or her previous novel, based on her impeccable character development. 

On a personal note, I have even more respect for the author and her writing because of the amount of research that went into this novel. Being that I am in the United States and in Virginia (right next door to West Virginia, for those not from the U.S.), Karen Millie-James asked me questions that seemed so mundane, yet it all made since once I read the novel, such as, “what would someone in West Virginia call their father and grandfather? or What do you know about West Virginia politics?)

Not only is the novel outstanding, but it is based on research, as well as, personal family history of Karen Millie-James and her ancestors. Anyone interested in an intelligent, thought-provoking suspense/crime thriller, Where in the Dark should be placed at the top of your TBR. 

*Many thanks to the author for providing this ARC in exchange for my honest review!

Pre-Order Where in the Dark on Amazon!

Learn more about Karen Millie-James by visiting her web page. 

 

Reviews

Book Review: Beautiful Animals

Beautiful Animals: A Novel,

by Lawrence Osborne

Publication: Hogarth; July 18, 2017

beautanimalsAbout the book: 

On a hike during a white-hot summer break on the Greek island of Hydra, Naomi and Samantha make a startling discovery: a man named Faoud, sleeping heavily, exposed to the elements, but still alive. Naomi, the daughter of a wealthy British art collector who has owned a villa in the exclusive hills for decades, convinces Sam, a younger American girl on vacation with her family, to help this stranger. As the two women learn more about the man, a migrant from Syria and a casualty of the crisis raging across the Aegean Sea, their own burgeoning friendship intensifies. But when their seemingly simple plan to help Faoud unravels all must face the horrific consequences they have set in motion.

In this brilliant psychological study of manipulation and greed, Lawrence Osborne explores the dark heart of friendship and shows just how often the road to hell is paved with the best of intentions.

My Review:

Who, What, When, etc.

Beautiful Animals is a novel about a young woman named Naomi while vacationing with her father and stepmother at their summer home in Greece. Naomi is in her twenties, finished law school, but has already had an unsuccessful career. Naomi has a strained, yet somewhat affectionate relationship with her wealthy, art collector father and has a very cold and distant relationship with her stepmother. 

Samantha (Sam) is also a young woman vacationing on the Greek island of Hydra, a few years younger than Naomi and with a more close-knit family. Although also from a very wealthy family, Sam is much more naive and innocent than Naomi, thus beginning an interesting friendship. 

During a day excursion on Naomi’s family’s yacht, Naomi and Sam discover a man on the far end of the island, sleeping, and obviously injured. After some time they realize he is there illegally from Syria, but without him providing much detail regarding his circumstances. They decide they want to help him and the young women continue bringing him supplies, helping him with private places to stay, and eventually provide him with means to a great deal of wealth without truly considering the consequences. 

Thoughts & Reactions

Occasionally I will look at reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, etc. prior to writing my review, simply because I wonder if a particular reaction is just me, or if others have felt the same. Beautiful Animals is one that I did look at other reviews prior to writing this, but it appears as if the things I enjoyed, most others didn’t, and vice versa. 

Let me start with the actual writing. Lawrence Osborne has crafted a beautiful novel. This is one of those novels that while reading, you feel as if you are floating on some perfect cloud of perfect imagery, description, and dialogue. This is masterful writing that requires thinking and feeling on your part as a reader. Moreover, I cannot imagine how anyone could read this book without developing overwhelming wanderlust. The descriptions of the landscape, food, alcohol, people, etc. have solidified my desire and need to visit Greece (and Italy).

Similar to an issue I had recently with another novel, there was not one character in this novel that I liked, or even respected for that matter. Naomi has lived an overly privileged life, with the exception of the death of her mother when Naomi was a teenager. Living in London with family homes in Italy and Greece, Naomi has been sheltered and spoiled beyond belief, although she was also extremely intelligent and independent. Her father Jimmie and her stepmother Phaine were basically narcissistic, alcoholic social climbers with even fewer redeeming qualities than Naomi. 

Sam and her family were wealthy New Yorkers, but much less pretentious than Naomi’s family. There were several references to Sam playing Scrabble with her father or going to the beach with her mother – things that would never have occurred with Naomi’s family. Remaining characters included the angry and diabolical maid Carissa, Faoed the illegal young man from Syria, and Jimmie’s friend and odd, secretive business partner Rockhold. All of them had equally unpleasant characteristics. 

Regarding the overall plot of the novel, I found it unique, engaging, and interesting. This wasn’t the best novel for me to take along on a weekend camping trip, but I did find myself captivated and unable to put it down. This wasn’t just a “rich girl helping a refugee story,”  but something much more complex about people in general. Why are people willing to risk so much for a stranger? Why do some people feel compelled to put their own family at risk for a cause? What has happened in a person’s life to make them completely numb to consequences of one’s behavior?

As always, I don’t want to give spoilers, but this novel is a shining example of a wealthy, spoiled woman that feels so entitled she is unable to look beyond herself. Naomi frequently plays the “I had a bad parent card” throughout the novel as a justification to herself and others, but it did nothing to inspire me to be more tolerant of her. 

Recommendations

Readers that enjoy higher-level writing that is thought-provoking (both good and bad), should enjoy and respect this novel. I loved the writing, as well as, the overall plot idea. However, if you need to make a connection with a particular character in order to enjoy a novel, Beautiful Animals is not the book for you. 

*Thanks to Blogging for Books for this novel in exchange for an honest review. 

Purchase Beautiful Animals on Amazon!

Learn more about Lawrence Osborne by visiting his web page.

Reviews

Book Review: Bring Her Home

Bring Her Home, by David Bell

Publication:  Berkley; July 11, 2017

bring her homeAbout the book: 

Just a year and a half after the tragic death of his wife, Bill Price’s fifteen-year-old daughter, Summer, and her best friend, Haley, disappear. Days later, the girls are found in a city park. Haley is dead at the scene, while Summer is left beaten beyond recognition and clinging to life.

As Bill holds vigil over Summer’s bandaged body, the only sound the unconscious girl can make is one cryptic and chilling word: No. And the more time Bill spends with Summer, the more he wonders what happened to her. Or if the injured girl in the hospital bed is really his daughter at all.

When troubling new questions about Summer’s life surface, Bill is not prepared for the aftershocks. He’ll soon discover that both the living and the dead have secrets. And that searching for the truth will tear open old wounds that pierce straight to the heart of his family…

My Review:

Who, What, When, etc.

Two fifteen-year-old girls, Summer Price and her best friend Haley go missing. After a few days, two girls are found in a park. Haley is dead, but Summer survived just barely. Bill and Summer have had problems the past year and a half since Bill’s wife and Summer’s mother, Julia died suddenly in their home. 

As the investigation surrounding their disappearance, Summer’s almost deadly beating, and Haley’s death, new things come to light every day. Bill is questioned about how well he really knew his daughter. People are questioned and things continue coming to light as the investigation continues, headed up by Detective Hawkins. 

Bill’s sister, Paige, comes to be with Bill during the investigation and he also has the support of his neighbor and friend, Adam. Bill is sure that someone knows something and points his finger at several of boys from Haley and Summer’s school, but things just continue to get complicated as the investigation continues.

Thoughts and Reactions

Let me start with this… Bring Her Home is hands-down the best novel I have read this year. I love suspense thrillers but good Lord, this one delivered one surprise and one twist right after the other. I sat down to read this about 3 1/2 hours ago and have barely moved since. 

Author David Bell has an uncanny ability to make the reader doubt themselves repeatedly, in a good way, of course. Each time I had it all figured out in my head, I was blindsided by a new revelation completely blowing my theory out of the water. Then, every time I would decide someone else had nothing to do with it, their names would pop up again with more incriminating circumstances. 

This novel is challenging to review without giving spoilers, so I can’t say much more about the plot than I already have, but let me stress that this is a complete, unexpected roller coaster ride from beginning to end. And if you are a parent of a teenager, prepare to cringe at times at the thought of these things happening to your child or the thought of your child being involved in the circumstances in any way. When you’re done reading this, I promise you will want to go sit down with your kids and ask them a million questions about their lives, lol! 

As stated before, this is my favorite book of the year. If you are a fan of mystery/suspense/thrillers, this is not a book to miss. Kudos to David Bell for such an amazing novel!

*Many thanks to David Bell, Berkley, & NetGalley for providing this novel in exchange for an honest review!

Purchase Bring Her Home on Amazon!

Learn more about David Bell by visiting his web page.

Reviews

Book Review​: Hard Proof

HARD PROOF (NOTUS MOTORCYCLE CLUB BOOK 1),

BY DEBRA KAYN

PUBLICATION: MAY 29, 2017

hard proofAbout the book: A sexy, gripping romantic suspense…

Identical twin sisters move to St. John’s, Oregon, buy Vavoom’s Bar, and purposely put themselves into the path of Notus Motorcycle Club.

Burdened by a deep, dark secret, Clara has to be careful because one wrong step, one wrong word, could land her and Gracie in prison. Her need to stay close to the motorcycle club members backfire when Wayne Shaw throws her heart into a tailspin. There is more to the possessive biker than she originally thought. Cornered and out of options, she can only go forward and hope Wayne protects her.

Wayne Shaw splits his time between working at Port Loaders, searching for missing persons in partnership with the local police department, and keeping Notus Motorcycle Club together in hopes a brother will come home. Skilled at finding clues normal people miss, he has no trouble telling the new owners of Vavoom’s apart. He only wants Clara.

When a little girl goes missing, followed by a teenager disappearing, Wayne’s need to keep Clara safe while searching for a serial killer gets tested…until he’s no longer sure who is the hunted and who is the hunter.

My Review:

Today, I have discovered that I have a new passion. That passion is motorcycle club novels! I have read one or two and loved them, but after reading Hard Proof: Notus Motorcycle Club Book 1 today, I can proudly say that I am a huge fan of MC books!

Twin sisters Clara and Gracie move back to St. John’s and take ownership of a local bar, Vavoom. Why? They are hoping to befriend and hire members of the Notus Motorcycle Club to find someone that caused great harm to their family. Wayne and his friends in Notus work normal jobs like everyone else, but when someone goes missing, they volunteer their time to work with local police and local search and rescue teams to safely bring people home. Clara unexpectedly finds herself falling hard for Wayne, as people are suddenly going missing and Wayne only wants to protect Clara. 

This is one of those rare novels that, with the exception of “the bad guy,” I truly liked every character. Clara was very likable, down to earth and relatable, but her twin, Gracie was more reserved and hard to read. It took me about one second to fall head over heels for Wayne and except for one instance in the novel, my love just grew for him as I read. I wish the main characters had been a bit more developed, but I loved them regardless!

I have to admit that in the beginning of the book I wasn’t sure about the whole “vigilante biker club” thing but as the story progressed, their motivation became clear and their commitment to helping people was very evident. This novel was fast paced with several twists and turns and at times was downright creepy, but I loved it and couldn’t put it down once I started. Hard Proof has suspense, mystery, romance, and psychological elements all adding up to a fantastic read. I cannot wait for the next installment of this series to be released!!

*Thanks to the author for providing a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review!

Purchase Hard Proof on Amazon!

Learn more about Debra Kayn by visiting her web page.

Reviews

Book Review: Deceived

DECEIVED, BY HEENA RATHORE P.

PUBLICATION: CITRUS; JUNE 24, 2017

DECEIVEDAbout the book:

A girl struggling to cope with the murders of her mother and five-year-old brother.
A journalist chasing the ghost of a potential serial killer.
A thirteen-year-old girl who slaughtered her parents.
And a revenge-driven psychopath who is about to destroy everyone’s life.

After 9 years, a young writer is still coping with the brutal murders of her mother and five-year-old brother, as she moves into a house of horrors, to start a new life with her lover. Will friends and family be able to redeem Ally out of the impending doom in time? Will her infallible love become the key to the destruction of her already fragile world? Will madness prevail over love; true love over revenge?

Deceived is a gripping psychological thriller that mazes through the deepest, darkest emotions of the human mind through the story of a vulnerable girl who treads in the midst of deception bred from a long unforgiven betrayal.

My Review:

Today, I am reviewing Deceived, the debut novel from author Heena Rathore P. Lovers of psychological thrillers, serial killers, crime, and suspense – do not overlook this novel!

  • Ally is a writer, in a relationship with a man named Danny, has a roommate Sam, a loving father Stephen Stone, and her beloved German Shepherd, Max. Ally is also still dealing with the brutal murders of her mother and little brother 9 years earlier.  
  • Steve is a journalist returning to his hometown of Dewer as a supervisor at the newspaper he works for. He is also returning to amend his relationship with Ally and to investigate the murders of his aunt and cousin. Steve thinks this is the work of a serial killer but needs to make the connection.
  •  In 1978, Elizabeth Lawson murdered her parents and disappeared. 
  • Then there is another unknown character, dead set on revenge and ruining Ally and her father’s lives.

While reading this book, I would highly suggest having a glass of wine nearby, or whatever your preferred adult beverage is. Also, I would not read this while home alone, at night. Deceived is so incredibly suspenseful and creepy I am not sure I have the words in my vocabulary to accurately describe it. However, there were numerous times while reading that chill bumps covered my arms.

The novel is opened with a distinction between psychopaths and sociopaths which was not only interesting but set the scene for everything to come.  I wouldn’t even attempt to discuss the plot for fear of spoilers, but I will say that this novel is non-stop action and it seemed as if every page held a new clue or new background information on the characters. The author developed her characters thoroughly and at times almost too well, leaving me with such creepy feelings. Although the novel is fast-paced and absolutely a page-turner, the resolution unfolds slowly, almost teasingly, increasing your desire to figure everything out. 

The only negative to this novel, just my personal thoughts, was the ending. On one hand, I loved the creepy nature of the ending, despite it being the resolution of the plot. But on the other hand, I felt it lacked closure. Otherwise, I loved every scary, suspenseful, and shocking moment of this novel. Bravo to Heena Rathore P. for such an amazing debut novel! I look forward to reading her again in the future. 

*I will warn readers of potential triggers involving sexual abuse, rape, and explicit physical violence. This novel is about multiple killings, so expect details regarding the murders. 

 

*Thanks to the author and publisher for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

Learn more about Heena Rathore P. by visiting her web page.

Book Blitz, Reviews

Blog tour & review: When I Wake Up

When I wake up tour

Book Description

A breathtaking, heart-pounding, dark debut, sure to delight fans of The Girl on the Train and Before I Go To Sleep.

When Anna, a much-loved teacher and mother of two, is left savagely beaten and in a coma, a police investigation is launched. News of the attack sends shock waves through her family and their small Swedish community. Anna seems to have had no enemies, so who wanted her dead?

As loved-ones wait anxiously by her bedside, her husband Erik is determined to get to the bottom of the attack, and soon begins uncovering his wife’s secret life, and a small town riven with desire, betrayal, and jealousy.

As the list of suspects grows longer, it soon becomes clear that only one person can reveal the truth, and she’s lying silent in a hospital bed…

When I wake up cover

My Review:

I am so incredibly excited to bring you my review of When I Wake Up and to be a part of this blog tour! What an amazing suspense/thriller! For those who regularly read my reviews, you know how much I love a surprising, “whodunnit” novel and this met and exceeded my expectations. A dedicated teacher, wife, and mother to twins Anna is brutally beaten in the school parking lot, leaving her in a coma. Everyone is shocked, including her husband Erik, not understanding who would want to hurt Anna like this. As she lies in a coma in the hospital the police and Erik work to find any clues about her life that might lead them to the attacker. 

When I Wake Up is an absolute page-turner! Everyone is shocked by Anna’s horrible attack and no one can figure out who would have done such a thing. However, as the book unfolds flashing back to the past, as well as, following Erik in the present, everything starts falling into place. Except, every time I thought I figured out who the attacker was, I was so wrong! Author Jessica Jarlvi weaves a complicated and tangled web of secrets and deceit leaving it almost impossible for the reader to figure out “whodunnit” until she decides to reveal everything. 

I was blown away by the complexity and suspense of the plot, but have to mention the amazing character development. There are a lot of key players in this novel – most of which are possible suspects – but Jarlvi’s writing allows the reader the feeling that they truly know each character. This is most likely why I was so shocked when the attacker was revealed! I knew the character wasn’t perfect, like all of the characters, but never suspected that they were responsible for the attack. 

For lovers of suspense/thrillers, do not miss out on reading this amazing novel! Hats off to Jessica Jarlvi, her incredible writing, and this amazing novel!

*Thanks to Aria and NetGalley for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Jessica

Author Bio

Born in Sweden, Jessica moved to London at the age of 18 to obtain a BSc Hons degree in Publishing and Business. She worked in publishing in the UK for a number of years before heading to Chicago where she edited a magazine for expats. Back in Sweden, she completed a Masters in Creative Writing. Since 2010, Jessica has taught journalism and media at a local university and has spent the last five years as the marketing and PR manager for a British firm. Last year, she was one of the winners in the Montegrappa Prize for First Fiction at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature. Jessica is married with three spirited children, and although she’s known for her positivity, her writing tends to be rather dark!

Follow Jessica

Facebook: @JessicaJarlvi

Twitter: @JessicaJarlvi

Website: http://www.jessicajarlvi.com

 

Buy links

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2nRmsyG

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2o1ATAw

iBooks: http://apple.co/2oALYqc

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2n3H1cj

Follow Aria

Website: www.ariafiction.com

Facebook: @ariafiction

Twitter: @aria_fiction

Instagram: @ariafiction

NetGalley: http://bit.ly/2lkKB0e

Sign up to the Aria newsletter: http://bit.ly/2jQxVtV

 

 

Reviews

Book Review: Where There’s Smoke

WHERE THERE’S SMOKE, BY CATHY COLE

PUBLICATION: FIREBORN PUBLISHING; MARCH 8, 2017

where theres smokeAbout the book: 

Firefighter Jo Woods is struggling to hold onto her job and her sanity. Banished to the backwater town of Mourne Lough, she vows to stop making waves, admit her family’s death was an accident, and that the guilt she feels is plain old survivor guilt.

Then she finds the roses and everything changes.

The killer hasn’t stopped. He’s here. In the same town. Stalking her. And once again, no one believes her.

After seven years of avoiding family and friends, Jo is alone and friendless in a strange town. In order to survive and, more importantly, bring the killer to justice, she must overcome her fears and embrace her new life. And she must do it quickly because the killer has his sights set on her and he’s willing to kill anyone who gets in his way.

Enter Ian “Coop” Cooper, who sets Jo’s pulse fluttering and her antenna into overdrive. Does she dare trust him?

One thing Jo is clear about: this killer destroyed her life once before. No way is she going to let him do it again–no matter what it takes.

My Review:

I am completely speechless after reading Where There’s Smoke! This was such an outstanding, whirlwind of a thriller and it wasn’t until I had finished that I realized that this is author Cathy Cole’s debut novel. So I will begin by saying, this is an author to watch because if this is her debut, I can’t wait to see what’s next!

Anyhow, to the review part… The main character of this novel is Jo Woods, a firefighter that has recently transferred to the small town of Mourne Lough. She has a chance to start fresh but is also running from almost losing her job due to her theories about a possible murderer/arsonist. Jo has some horrible ghosts pertaining to losses involving fires, and when she comes across a house fire where she sees the roses, she knows that she’s been right all along and that he’s back. The problem is, no one believes her. 

Jo immediately appears very professional and dedicated to her work, but it’s also apparent that she has suffered tremendous loss, as well as, a lot of gossip and whispering behind her back regarding her theories of a string of “accidental house fires” actually being murder. After beginning at her new station, she easily befriends Dave but struggles to relate to the others in her unit, as well as, her superior. In the meantime, she befriends a neighbor Mary that is struggling as a single mother, as well as, the attractive but mysterious man across the hall, Coop. She has one person she can trust back from where she came from, Mavis, who is helping Jo compile profiles and information regarding the deaths of children in house fires over the years, but otherwise, everyone else thinks she’s crazy. 

Jo faces several battles in this novel. First is her own loss related to a fire – which I don’t want to spoil/reveal. Second is her being the only female in the small fire station in Mourne Lough with some sexist men as partners. The third is her frustrations over truly feeling these fires and deaths were intentional, but unable to produce any solid proof. Despite her past and present struggles, Jo is a strong and assertive main character presented in a realistic but positive light. I immediately felt connected to Jo and felt for her when every possible door on solving these fires kept shutting in her face. 

Beyond Jo, I can literally say that I felt suspicious of almost every character. Maybe not Dave or the older woman in Jo’s building, but literally every other character seemed to raise at least one red flag with me. Thus, this was an amazing suspense novel because I was floored as the truth slowly unraveled. Cathy Cole’s writing and plot development left me closely watching every move that every character made, as I struggled to figure out who was committing these fires and murders – if anyone was at all. I can attest that I did not figure everything out until maybe a few paragraphs before it was made clear and I was shocked. 

Where There’s Smoke was a fantastic surprise of suspense, mystery, crime, and maybe a tiny speckle of romance. You will not be able to put this one down once you start reading, so save this one when you have no other pressing matters that day. Prepare yourself for keeping a running tally in your head of who has said something or done something odd as you read because you will be busy trying to figure this one out!

*Thanks to the author for providing a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review!

Purchase Where There’s Smoke on Amazon!

Learn more about Cathy Cole by visiting her web page.

Reviews

Book Review: The Weight of Night

THE WEIGHT OF NIGHT: A NOVEL OF SUSPENSE (GLACIER MYSTERY SERIES BOOK 3), BY CHRISTINE CARBO

PUBLICATION: ATRIA BOOKS; JUNE 6, 2017

weight of nightAbout the book: On most days, the wilderness gave me peace. But not tonight.

In a land sculpted by glaciers, the forest is on fire. Thick smoke chokes the mountain air and casts an apocalyptic glow over the imposing peaks and vistas of Montana’s Glacier National Park. When firefighters are called in to dig firebreaks near the small town bordering the park, a crew member is shocked to unearth a shallow grave containing human remains.

Park Police Officer Monty Harris is summoned to the site to conduct an excavation. But with an incendiary monster threatening to consume the town, Monty seeks help from Gretchen Larson, the county’s lead crime scene investigator.

While the two work frantically to determine the true identity of the victim, a teenager suddenly disappears from one of the campgrounds in Glacier. Could the cases somehow be connected? As chances for recovery of the missing boy grow slimmer and the FBI finds only dead ends, Gretchen and Monty desperately race to fit all the pieces together while battling time, the elements, and their own unresolved inner conflicts.

My Review:

The Weight of Night is just as the title says, a novel of suspense! In the midst of crazy wildfires in Montana’s Glacier National Park, a new firefighter discovers human skeletal remains. Monty, who is a Park Police Officer, calls in reinforcements from Gretchen, a top crime scene investigator as they race to collect the remains and surrounding crime scene evidence. In the meantime, a young boy vacationing in the area with his family goes missing. Suddenly, Monty and Gretchen are searching previous missing person and abduction cases trying to find a connection to the missing boy, while waiting for word about the remains that have been unearthed.  All the while, they are each fighting their own demons and guilt from the past. 

I’m torn on my opinion of the two main characters, Monty and Gretchen. On one hand, they were well-developed and the author revealed a great deal about their lives and especially about their pasts. But on the other hand, after finishing this novel I still felt as if I really didn’t know who they were. This was so action-packed and fast-paced that many of the characters only caught a few hours of sleep here and there, and were otherwise consumed with the fire, the missing boy, and the previous abduction cases. It was all woven in with flashbacks about tragedies from their pasts, but I still felt a little disconnected from them. 

As far as the plot and subplots of the story, it was literally non-stop action trying to figure out “whodunnit.” The author slowly but wonderfully introduced additional conflicts and variables and I was truly shocked when I discovered the criminal behind the abductions. And I LOVE being completely surprised in this way 🙂 Throughout the novel, it was as if every time they thought they found a clue to help solve the case, it led to so many different people and events that it just became more challenging to solve. 

For readers that enjoy straight-up suspense and crime fiction, then this is absolutely the novel for you. There is no romance mixed in with the story, but instead, just a roller coaster ride of mystery and the demons that haunt us in our lives. There were a few times during flashbacks that I found myself skimming, but otherwise, this was a fantastic read. Note that I have not read the first two novels in this series, but I don’t think that it impacted the enjoyment of reading.

*Thanks to NetGalley for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

Pre-order The Weight of Night on Amazon. 

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Reviews

Book Review: Lust, Money & Murder 9

LUST, MONEY & MURDER, BOOK 9 – ESCAPE FROM SUDAN, BY MIKE WELLS

PUBLICATION: MIKE WELLS BOOKS; OCTOBER 14, 2016

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Synopsis: While in Sudan, Elaine Brogan receives new information about Stanley Ketchum, and it’s a game changer. She realizes that the plan that she and Giorgio Cattoretti agreed upon to have Raj Malik arrested will no longer work without significant modification. Will The Cat go along with it? And can she avoid the deadly Janjaweed warriors and escape from Sudan alive?

 

 

 

Review:

Lust, Money, & Murder Book 9 – Escape from Sudan is Mike Wells at his best! Book 9 begins with Elaine and Stanley trying to get out of the mine after Elaine has shot him in the leg. Stanley Ketchum is obviously furious having thought Elaine a golddigger wife from Texas named Jennifer, but Elaine refuses to leave him behind. Once Dmitry picks them up, there is non-stop action involving the Janjaweed, rain storms, and wildlife. Nick wakes up in a cage at the home of dogfighters, unsure what will happen next to both him and Isabella as he tries to figure out an escape plan. Despite constant obstacles, Elaine thinks they will be able to bring Raj down for smuggling the pink diamonds, but she soon learns that the Cat’s plan was quite a bit different from what he had told her.

This installment of the series was nothing but constant action, twists, and turns from beginning to end. Just when I thought that life would ease up on Elaine a bit, something else would happen that she had to overcome. It was the same for poor Dmitry dealing with Sudanese rebels, elephants, and muddy sinkholes! I continue to respect Elaine’s respect for life, even if they are criminals, but there were times during this book I really wanted her to just shoot the Cat in the head! Luna stepped up once again keeping the home fires burning all while doing her own investigation of Raj. I still love Nick, but he is going to have to earn back my respect after his behavior, lol! By far the most shocking turn of events was the ending, actually causing me to say a few choice words because I couldn’t believe what happened and that the story was over so now, I must wait for Book 10!

I am trying not to sound like a broken record considering I have read and review all 9 books in this series, but there just aren’t enough words to describe Mike Wells’ incredible writing style and plot twists. Every line and every action is significant in building the plot and characterization, not to mention completely addictive! Wells’ truly exhibits the gift of storytelling, leaving you feeling as if you’ve just stepped off the best roller coaster of your life once you finish the book. I highly recommend this book and series to anyone that likes crime fiction, thrillers, and suspense. This is flawless and exciting writing that you will not soon forget!

Learn more about Mike Wells by visiting his web page. If you have not yet read any of this series, you can download Book 1 for free when you visit his page!

Purchase Lust, Money & Murder Book 9 on Amazon.

*Thanks to Mike Wells for providing a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.

Reviews

Book Review: Lust, Money, & Murder 8

“LUST, MONEY & MURDER, BOOK 8 – BLOOD DIAMONDS,” BY MIKE WELLS

PUBLICATION: MIKE WELLS BOOKS; JULY 22, 2016

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Synopsis: In an extraordinary twist of fate, Elaine Brogan and Luna Faye end up joining forces with Giorgio Cattoretti to try to take down Raj Malik. At the end of Book 7, Elaine learned that Raj is smuggling diamonds out of a secret mine in Central Africa. Her mission is to go to Chad and find the location of the mine at all costs. Can she pull it off? And can she really trust Giorgio Cattoretti?

 

 

 

Review: Any time that I read one of Mike Wells’ books in the Lust, Money & Murder series, I always say it’s the best one yet in the series. However, I’m slowly learning over time that they are all just completely fantastic! This one picks up right where the last one left off with Elaine and Cattoretti aboard a yacht planning his next crime – to locate the mine where Raj is smuggling in diamonds. The Cat has everything all planned out to open a diamond cutting facility in Croatia and “go straight,” buying and selling the diamonds legally. He just needs Elaine to meet and convince Raj’s partner, Stan Ketchum to take her along to wherever the mine is. Once she gives the Cat the GPS coordinates, she’s free to go and get her revenge on Raj. In the meantime, Nick is dealing with his whirlwind of emotions after realizing that it was Isabella that he had been with since the black site, as well as, his growing frustration and worry over Elaine and her whereabouts. Luna. Dmitry and Tony are all back again taking care of the children and doing their own part to help Elaine and Nick. 

One of my favorite aspects of Mike Wells’ writing is his fantastic characterization. Every word of every line is relevant to understand the characters, where they’ve been and how they became who they are. Whether a good guy or a bad guy, you know these characters and begin to see patterns in their behavior throughout each novel in the series. Especially with Nick, Elaine, and Cattoretti, I have learned that they each have a good side and a dark side. Nick and Elaine are obviously not as bad as the Cat, but the development of the characters and the situations they encounter demonstrates that sometimes the lines are blurred between good and bad. Raj is one of those characters that you cannot help but hate, but then when he’s running errands with his children and taking them to the movies, you have to stop and remind yourself that he’s also a person with a family that he loves, not just a monster. As Elaine meets and gets to know Stan in this installment, he is definitely one of those where the lines are blurred because he seems so intelligent, interesting, caring, and so on. At times I had to remind myself that he was a bad guy, and other times, he made it quite clear on his own!

As typical with this series, Book 8 was overflowing with non-stop action and exciting twists and turns. I gave up trying to make any predictions about his plots long ago because I realized that right when I think I am figuring out what is going to happen, I end up wrong. Although these books are obviously fiction, I honestly feel like I learn things as I read them. Wells provides such detailed information about where the characters are, what the government is like and what the people are like that I forget I’m reading a fictional novel. I had never read this sort of genre before Mike Wells and I crossed cyber-paths, however, I have read some other crime fiction/suspense novels since I discovered the Lust, Money & Murder Series. I must say, Mike nails it in this genre, far above and beyond other novels I have read. He goes above and beyond with his exciting storylines and the perfect mixture of fiction, romance, suspense, and crime. 

I know I say this every time I review one of this series, but if you have not yet checked these out, you are missing out.  The first book in the series can be downloaded for free and it does not disappoint. I love this series and Book 8 was absolutely outstanding. I cannot wait to read and review the newly released Book 9, which will probably be in the next few days 🙂

Learn more about Mike Wells by visiting his web page.

Purchase Lust, Money & Murder: Book 8 on Amazon. 

*Disclaimer: I received a copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.