Audiobook Review: Malice in Miami by Barbara Venkataraman

Reluctant family law attorney Jamie Quinn is loving life–and why wouldn’t she? Her boyfriend Kip is back from Australia, her long-lost dad finally has his visa and she’s about to start her dream job at an art foundation. But it all falls apart when Jamie is accused of stealing priceless art from a rare book collection. If she can’t find out who framed her, she can kiss her dream job good-bye–and her law license too. Meanwhile, Kip has problems of his own. Now an environmental activist, he uncovers a deadly secret–one that just might get him killed. Jamie’s in trouble, Kip’s in danger, and Duke Broussard has gone AWOL. How could Jamie’s favorite P.I. abandon her at a time like this?

Available on Amazon.

My Review

I have listened to several of Barbara Venkataraman’s books. I like her sense of humor and enjoy listening to her books. Malice in Miami was no exception.

The writing flows well and there are several different stories going on at the same time. Jamie has been offered a job with the Andrea Lowenthal Art Fund. Of course, she still has some cases at her law firm that have to be finished up, and one of them turns out not to have a quick or easy outcome. There is a murder but it comes pretty late in the story and is quickly solved.

Jamie’s boyfriend Kip is finally back but he’s still gone a lot. This guy can not sit still! Jamie must truly love him because she seems okay with him being gone. He starts working with an environmental group and they end up with some interesting (and dangerous) findings.

Duke is Jamie’s go to PI and is a good friend. I didn’t think I’d like him when he was introduced in the first book but he’s a good guy and a good friend. He has turned out to be my favorite character. Barbara Venkataraman describes him perfectly: “That was Duke. A dash of debauchery and a pinch of chivalry marinated in tequila and rolled into one good time Charlie.”

I definitely recommend this book but I would have enjoyed it more if I’d read it rather than listened to it. The narrator is okay and she does very well with the different voices. I would have liked a little more animation when she was narrating though.

Malice in Miami one of those books that leaves you with a good feeling. It is part of a series but does stand on its own.

About the Author

Award-winning author Barbara Venkataraman is an attorney and mediator specializing in family law. Her works include: “The Fight for Magicallus”, a children’s fantasy; “If you’d Just Listened to Me in the First Place”, a humorous short story; and two books of humorous essays: “I’m Not Talking about You, Of Course,” and “A Trip to the Hardware Store & Other Calamities,” which are part of an ongoing series entitled “Quirky Essays for Quirky People.” 

Her Jamie Quinn cozy mystery series includes: “Death by Didgeridoo”, “The Case of the Killer Divorce”, “Peril in the Park”, “Engaged in Danger” and, just released, “Jeopardy in July.”  All of her books are available on Amazon Kindle.

Book Review & Giveaway: Darkness Hides by J.C. Gatlin

Book Title: DARKNESS HIDES by J.C. Gatlin
Category:  Adult Fiction (18 + yrs), 251 pages
Genre:  Mystery / Suspense
Publisher:  Milford House Press
Release date:  April 2021
Content Rating:  PG-13: There are a couple of murders and mild language (damn, shit)

Someone she knows is watching.
Someone she knows is stalking.
And something hides in the darkness.

With a Category 4 hurricane about to make landfall, boat safety instructor Kate Parks is running out of time. Bodies are piling up–and they’re not from the raging storm. An injury may have ended her career as a Fish and Wildlife officer, but nothing can keep her away from the investigation.

And it doesn’t take long for her to see that the clues have one thing in common: a connection to the recent death of her five-year-old nephew.

In a brewing storm of rage, guilt, and family secrets, Kate fights to protect her grieving sister just as the hurricane threatens everything she knows and loves. But before her world is completely ravaged, she must uncover one final truth:

Run from the water.
Hide from the wind.
Flee from the shadows where a weeper seeks revenge.

Buy the Book:
Amazon
Sun Bury Press
add to Goodreads

My Review

These are some messed up characters! Kate was shot when she was working for Fish and Wildlife and has been temporarily working for the police department. Her 5-year-old nephew, Noah, was killed about a year ago in a car accident and her sister, Elise, has been in a deep depression ever since. Elise’s husband, Redd, seems to be handling Noah’s death better, but is he really?

When the attorneys who defended the drunk driver involved in the accident start dying, Kate has to wonder if Redd is guilty. Or could it be her overzealous boyfriend?

Darkness Hides is full of drama and some humor here and there. I actually laughed a couple of times. About halfway through, the suspense and action kick into gear, and it was difficult to put the book down. Even better, the ending was a surprise. I usually have at least some idea about the ending, but this one blindsided me.

About the Author

JC Gatlin lives in Tampa, Florida, and writes mystery novels that include sunny Florida locales and quirky locals as characters. His last novel, H_NGM_N: Murder is the Word, won the coveted Florida Royal Palm Literary Award for Best Mystery in 2019. He is active in the Florida Writer’s Association and is a board member on the Florida Writer’s Foundation, a charity organization that fights illiteracy.

connect with the author: website ~ facebook ~ linkedin ~ goodreads

Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of JC Gatlin’s DARKNESS HIDES (3 winners) (USA and Canada only)

Giveaway

Follow the Tour

June 14 – Olio by Marilyn – book spotlight / author interview
June 14 – Olio by Marilyn – book review / giveaway
June 15 – Sefina Hawke’s Books – book review
June 16 – Cover Lover Book Review – book spotlight / giveaway
June 16 – GivernyReads – book review / author interview
June 17 – World of My Imagination – book spotlight / guest post
June 17 – Books for Books – book review
June 18 – I Read What You Write – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
June 21 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – book spotlight / giveaway
June 22 – A Crane Between the Pages – book review
June 22 – The Momma Spot – book review / giveaway
June 23 – PuzzlePaws Blog – book review / giveaway
June 23 – Sadie’s Spotlight – book spotlight
June 24 – Book Corner News and Reviews – book review / giveaway
June 25 – Hall Ways Blog – book review / giveaway
June 28 – Adventurous Jessy – book review / giveaway
June 28 – The Eclectic Review – book review / giveaway
June 29 – Bound 4 Escape – book review / giveaway
June 29 – Jazzy Book Reviews – book review / giveaway
June 30 – JB’s Bookworms with Brandy Mulder – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
June 30 – Splashes of Joy – book review / author interview / giveaway
July 1 – Gina Rae Mitchell – book review / giveaway
July 1 – Leels Loves Books – book review
July 2 – Kam’s Place – book review
July 2 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book review / giveaway
July 6 – Working Mommy Journal – book review / giveaway
July 7 – @twilight_reader – book review
July 7 – Cheryl’s Book Nook – book review / giveaway
July 8 – @books_and_bagels (Instagram) – book review / giveaway
July 8 – Literary Flits – book spotlight / giveaway
July 9 – Pick a Good Book – book review / author interview / giveaway

Continue reading

Book Review & Giveaway: The Redemption by C.L. Tolbert

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Level Best Books
Publication Date: February 9th 2021
Number of Pages: 286
ISBN: 978-1-947915-43-5
Series: Thornton Mysteries, Book 2
Each is a Stand Alone Mystery
Purchase Links: Amazon | Goodreads

Emma Thornton is back in The Redemption, C.L. Tolbert’s second novel in the Thornton Mystery Series.

When two men are murdered one muggy September night in a New Orleans housing project, an eye witness identifies only one suspect – Louis Bishop- a homeless sixteen-year old. Louis is arrested the next day and thrown into Orleans Parish Prison. Emma Thornton, a law professor and director of the Homeless Law Clinic at St. Stanislaus Law School in the city agrees to represent him.

When they take on the case, Emma and her students discover a tangle of corruption, intrigue, and more violence than they would have thought possible, even in New Orleans. They uncover secrets about the night of the murders, and illegal dealings in the city, and within Louis’s family. As the case progresses, Emma and her family are thrown into a series of life-threating situations. But in the end, Emma gains Louis’s trust, which allows him to reveal his last, and most vital secret.

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

The Redemption starts with a double murder of a gang member and a brother with the church who happen to be a short distance away from each other. Emma is a professor at a law school, and she and three students take the case of Louis, the 16-year-old boy accused of the murders.

The odds are stacked against Louis because everyone is afraid to testify on his behalf. Even though he keeps changing his story, Emma believes he’s innocent, and she is determined to find out what happened that night. Emma is a strong, independent woman with twins whose safety has to be her priority.

There are a lot of other characters in this book including Louis’s cousin Marcus who is the head of a gang, members of the community who do all they can to help others, and dirty cops, all of whom play an important role in Louis’s case. All of the characters are interesting and realistic.

During the investigation of the murders, Emma finds out a lot of information that is intertwined with the case. She gets too close to finding out something (she doesn’t know what) and as a result, there are danger, suspense, and more murders.

Even though there aren’t a lot of surprises in The Redemption, it is a good read and kept my interest throughout.

Book Praise:

“With The Redemption, Cynthia Tolbert delivers another beautifully written and compelling read in her Thornton Mystery series, as law professor Emma Thornton’s fight to save a teen wrongly accused of murder endangers her own life in this gripping tale of corruption and crime in the 1990s Big Easy.”
Ellen Byron, Agatha Award Winning Author of the Cajun Country Mysteries

Read an excerpt:

CHAPTER ONE

September 9, 1994

 

8:05 p.m.

Just before dark on the night of his death, Brother Reginald Antoine stepped out of the cottage where he lived. He slammed the door shut to prevent the soggy heat of the late summer evening from invading the front room. Except for occasional river breezes, the New Orleans climate was swamp-like until late October. His exits had become swift and cat-like to avoid escalating power bills and a strain on the house’s only window-unit air conditioner.

He stood on the front porch for a moment, staring at the entrance to the Redemption housing project. All was quiet. No one was in sight.

He was looking forward to the evening. He’d promised to help Alicia Bishop complete forms for a scholarship to Our Lady of Fatima, the top girls’ school in the city. He found himself singing under his breath as he locked the front door.

Most of the kids Brother Antoine worked with never finished school, and he was painfully aware that he’d failed far more than he’d helped. But Alicia’s story would be different. Her graduation would be her family’s first. Clear-headed and determined, much like her Aunt Juanita, the woman who had raised her, she was destined to earn far more than a high school diploma. He believed she was destined for great things.

Brother Antoine surveyed the street familiar to him from childhood. Alicia and her Aunt Juanita lived in an apartment was only a few blocks over, but well within the Redemption housing project. Driving such a short distance would be silly, plus he felt like a little exercise. It was a good evening for a walk, even though no one felt completely safe walking around any neighborhood in the city at night. At least one person had been killed in New Orleans every day that year, so far. Sometimes more. Too many drugs were on the streets. But he didn’t worry about any of that.

He tucked the bundle of papers he’d pulled for the meeting under his arm and headed out. When he was a kid he’d found the Redemption overwhelming – so vast it couldn’t be taken in, visually, from his porch or from any single location. A crowded jumble of russet brick, broken down porches, and peeling army-drab paint, it stretched across the lower garden district from Magazine Street to the Mississippi River. When he was about six he tried to count the buildings, but gave up when he got lost. Everything looked the same to him back then. When he returned to live at the mission house he realized he’d been wrong. Each place was unique. Every apartment, every stoop, every front door was distinct, because everything inside was different. Every place had its own family, its own problems, its own joys. Every place had its own family, its own problems, and joys. He didn’t realize how much he’d missed it until his return.

He passed the community garden planted around the corner from the mission house with its patches of brave sprouts pushing out of the ground. He was proud of that little spot, and equally excited for the people who were involved, especially those few who returned week after week to dig, and prod, and encourage the seedlings to grow. Some of the plants even promised to bear fruit, which was reason enough to celebrate.

As he walked he could smell urine from the street gutters where drunken men or stoned boys had relieved themselves. A recent rain only added a steamy intensity to the mix, creating a cauldron of odors which would vanish only when the next day’s sunlight parched the streets.

The Redemption was teeming with human spirit, poverty, and crime. It was home to many, but with rare exception, no one chose to live there. And everyone who did, even the very young, understood how fragile life could be.

He walked up the steps to Juanita Bishop’s apartment and rapped on the front door.

***

9:00 p.m.

Sam Maureau pulled his car into the Redemption and parked at a curb at the end of Felicity Street. He was alone. Jackson, his partner, couldn’t come. But Sam wasn’t worried. He checked his watch. He was right on time. Things were under control.

He turned off his lights and, except for the murky glow of the half-obscured moon, was surrounded by a blanket of darkness. It took several seconds for his eyes to adjust, but even after he waited, he still strained to see. Most of the streetlights on that block had been shot out, and several apartment windows had been boarded over. He peered in between the last two buildings on the corner for any sign of movement.

Sam kicked aside a beer can as he stepped out of his car. He didn’t expect any trouble that night. Marcus, a dealer who ran the Gangsta B’s, the largest gang in the city, had asked for a meeting to discuss ‘some business’, but they’d never had problems before. Their businesses had always co-existed, side-by-side. Sam had begun selling crack in small quantities ten years earlier, when he was twenty-five, and had remained one of the smaller distributers in the city. He figured that Marcus, who was younger by at least ten years, either wanted to bring him and his territory into the Gangsta B’s, or he wanted to buy him out. He didn’t see the need to change anything right now, unless the price was right. He was making pretty good money. His clients were happy with him. But he didn’t mind talking with Marcus.

Sam patted his jacket pocket. The gun was still there. It never hurt to be careful. He locked his car, checking to make certain nothing was in the back seat. Marcus had asked him to meet around the corner.

Sam made his way across the grassy common area, dodging the few mud puddles he could see reflected in the wan moonlight, to an old iron bench across from Marcus’s grandmother’s apartment where they had met once before. He sat down to wait. The bench hadn’t quite cooled from the daytime heat. The faint breeze from the river ruffled what scant remnants remained of his once luxurious surfer-boy hair and sent greasy paper bags, discarded whiskey bottles, and random debris scurrying across the sidewalk. He absent-mindedly patted his bald spot to make certain it was covered.

He couldn’t see them, but their chatter floated over to his bench. Even though the words were indecipherable, Sam heard three distinct voices. Then he heard Marcus speak.

“Go get Louis.”

Out of habit, Sam felt his jacket pocket again, reassuring himself that his piece was still there. Marcus and one other young man came into view. Sam nodded as they approached.

Marcus was a commanding presence. Tall, and athletic, intricate tattoos of black ink woe across his dark skin, tracing his biceps, and emphasizing his ropy, muscular arms and powerful shoulders. His long hair, pulled back into a pony-tail, flowed down his back. No one questioned his authority.

“We’re gonna wait a minute for Louis,” Marcus pulled out a cigarette from his back pocket and lit it, blowing billowy clouds into the night air.

“Yeah, sure. But what’s this all about?” Marcus ignored Sam’s question and pulled hungrily on his cigarette, blowing smoke rings, refusing to make eye contact with Sam.

Several minutes later a tall young man and a boy who couldn’t have been over sixteen joined them.

“You and your people gotta go. You’re right in the middle of my territory. I’m claiming it, and I’m taking it – now. Ain’t nothing you can do about it.” Marcus threw down his cigarette and stomped it into the grass.

Sam stood up to face Marcus. “Fuck you, Marcus. You don’t need my three blocks. I’ve had it for years, and its outside your territory anyway. You can’t just take it.” Sam clenched the fist of his left hand and shoved his right hand in his jacket pocket where the gun was hidden.

“That’s where you’re wrong, mother fucker.” Marcus grabbed another cigarette and rammed it three times against the pack. “I got business coming to me from uptown all the time now. It’s time for you to give it up.” Marcus nodded to the three boys, who formed a circle around Sam and Marcus.

“No way, bro’!” Sam’s hand instinctively tightened around the gun.

Surrounded by the group of young men, Sam saw an opening, turned, and simultaneously pulled the gun from his jacket. As he stepped toward his escape, he saw something moving along the sidewalk next to the street. It appeared to be a man dressed in dark clothes, but it was impossible to be certain. Sam heard one shot, and felt it whizz by him. The distant figure dropped. Sam twisted around, and aimed his weapon toward the sound of the gun fire. Then he heard another shot.

Feeling something hot in his chest, he crumbled to the ground. The last thing he saw was the young kid, the one they called Louis, running toward the river.

***

Brother Antoine said good night to Alicia on the front porch of her aunt’s apartment and started his walk back home. He was feeling good, lighthearted. He and Alicia had completed her application and she had nearly finished her essay. He was certain she was a shoo-in for the scholarship. He’d only traveled a few feet down the sidewalk when he saw a group of men and a few boys gathered together in the grassy area next to one of the buildings. The cloud-covered moon offered enough reflection to allow him to make out the scant silhouette of the tallest member of the group. There was no doubt. His swagger and perpetual cigarette were unmistakable. Marcus Bishop. They had to be up to no good.

Brother Antoine followed the curve of the sidewalk, which brought him a little closer to the group. He noticed there was movement, perhaps a scuffle. He heard a shot, then felt a searing pain in his chest. He placed his hand on his shirt where he felt dampness, and, struggling to breathe, fell to the ground. He grabbed the scapular around his neck, praying, as he lay there, someone would come administer the last rites.

***

Excerpt from The Redemption by Cynthia Tolbert. Copyright 2021 by Cynthia Tolbert. Reproduced with permission from Cynthia Tolbert. All rights reserved.

About the Author

In 2010, Cynthia Tolbert won the Georgia Bar Journal’s fiction contest for the short story version of OUT FROM SILENCE. Cynthia developed that story into the first full-length novel of the Thornton Mystery Series by the same name, which was published by Level Best Books in December of 2019. Her second book in this same series, entitled THE REDEMPTION, was released in February of 2021.

Cynthia has a Master’s in Special Education and taught children with learning disabilities for ten years before moving on to law school. She spent most of her legal career working as defense counsel to large corporations and traveled throughout the country as regional and national counsel. She also had the unique opportunity of teaching third-year law students in a clinical program at a law school in New Orleans where she ran the Homeless Law Clinic and learned, first hand, about poverty in that city. She retired after more than thirty years of practicing law. The experiences and impressions she has collected from the past forty years contribute to the stories she writes today. Cynthia has four children, and three grandchildren, and lives in Atlanta with her husband and schnauzer.

Catch Up With Cynthia:
CLTolbert.com
Goodreads
Instagram – @cltolbertwrites
Twitter – @cltolbertwrites
Facebook – @cltolbertwriter

GIVEAWAY:

This is a Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for C.L. Tolbert. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card (U.S. ONLY). The giveaway runs from June 1, 2021 through July 4, 2021. Void where prohibited.

Rafflecopter

Click here to view The Redemption by C.L. Tolbert Tour Participants

Book Review: Hidden Justice by Nolan King and David W. Wright

The bestselling authors of Yesterday’s GonePretty Killer, and No Justice bring you a brand new unforgettable thriller that blends mystery and suspense into pulse-pounding, revenge-seeking, fast-paced thriller action.

Frank Grimm is a retired detective who breaks into his neighbors’ homes searching for clues to find the man who murdered his daughter. What was once an unrelenting obsession in solving a crime has turned into something else — Frank breaking and entering, vicariously living through their lives, searching for a connection to anything.

One day he finds something waiting for him — a letter from a teenage girl who knows what he’s doing. It also says one other thing:

“Help, my father is raping me. Please kill him.”

Frank must decide how far he’ll go outside the law to save a child from a monster.

But his former ally, detective Mallory Black, is tracking his every move — she believes he escaped justice once, and she is not going to let it happen again.

Detective and ex-detective find themselves on a collision course as their lives are torn apart by their obsessions for delivering justice, no matter the costs.

Hidden Justice is a new stand-alone thriller novel written within the King & Wright world of No Justice. Start reading your favorite new vigilante thriller right now!  

Amazon

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy from Reedsy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Poor Frank Grimm lost both his wife and daughter and the only thing that kept him going was the need to find his daughter’s murderer. At first, he was sure it was a neighbor who had killed her so he started breaking into their homes to find a clue. Later, he broke into their homes because he liked to know what was going on in their lives since there was nothing going on in his except sorrow, grief, and guilt. I felt sorry for Frank and could understand that it was difficult for him to move on but his obsession with the neighbors, especially since he didn’t like them, was so unhealthy!

I enjoyed the other characters on Frank Grimm’s cul de sac. They were all quirky (annoying?) in their own way, and I could see why he didn’t particularly care to talk to them.

Mallory Black and her partner, Mike, were detectives who worked on the murder of Frank’s daughter. Mallory was positive that Frank was the murderer and even though he was officially cleared, she continued to investigate and was obsessed with catching him before he murdered another girl.

I did not like Mallory’s obsession with Frank because of how it affected her family. It was interesting how much alike she and Frank were, and Frank learned his lesson too late. He now realized how important dinner time should be for a family; hopefully, Mal could learn that before it was too late for her family. Even though she thought she put her family first, her job always came first. She wasn’t even concerned with her daughter’s anxiety. She just wanted to get back to work! And to her, her husband’s job had little value compared to hers.

Hidden Justice is a psychological thriller that I couldn’t put down after the first quarter of the book once Frank met his new neighbor Freya. She needed his help, and he was determined to help her no matter what. The ending was perfect. I now have a whole new series I want to read!

About the Authors

Nolon King writes psychological thrillers designed to have you on the edge of your seat. His stories are dark, twisty, and often decidedly close to home.

When not writing you will find Nolon drinking black coffee and observing humans in their natural habitats.

David Wright is a suspense thriller writer and co-author of the bestselling #1 horror and #1 sci-fi series, “Yesterday’s Gone.”

With co-author Sean Platt, he’s written the following series: “WhiteSpace,” “Available Darkness,” “Stonefall,” “Karma Police,” and the 47North series “Z2134” and the standalone novels “October’s Gone,” “Emily’s List,” “Crash,” and “Threshold,” along with countless “Dark Crossings” short stories.

With Nolon King, he is the co-author of the standalone suspense thriller “12” and the vigilante thriller series “No Justice.”

With Coraline Cole, he is the co-author of the dark fantasy series “ForNevermore.”

With Sawyer Black, he is the co-author of the horror series “Monstrous.”

He is the author of the non-fiction book, “Into the Darkness” which looks at how books and comics provided an escape from his youth and now he writes to offer that same escape to readers.

He is also one third of The Story Studio Podcast with authors Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant.

He currently lives on the east coast with his wife, his young son, and the world’s most poopingest cat.

When he’s not writing books, David can be found writing about the things he enjoys (TV shows, movies, books, video games, and going off on the occasional rant) at http://DavidwWright.com.

Book Review & Giveaway: Blood of the Dragonfly by Hawk MacKinney

Book Title:  Blood of the Dragonfly ( The Moccasin Hollow Mystery Series – Book V)
Author:  Hawk MacKinney
​Category:  Adult Fiction (18+), 227 pages
Genre:  Mystery/Suspense
Publisher:  Sage Words Publishing
Release date:  Feb 2021
Content Rating:  PG. There are graphic death scenes.


Book Description:

While dangling a fishing hook from his flat bottom skiff before dawn, former SEAL-turned-PI Craige Ingram spots grey-black smoke coiling above the treetops across the river in the direction of the Georgia bayous and Corpsewood Manor. Bayou or bogs, fire in the uncut cypress and pines bodes a sense that the river is no barrier to the fire that threatens his ancestral home, Moccasin Hollow. Neither are the bodies later found in the burned mansion of Corpsewood Manor. Craige wastes no time in helping his ex-SEAL buddy Lt. Graysen MacGerald who is now Head of Buckingham Homicide Investigations by unofficially investigating the bodies and an exquisite dragonfly brooch found in the mansion with a reputation for evil, hauntings, and mystery.


Buy the Book:
Amazon
B&N ~ BAM ~ Book Depository

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Craige Ingram and his ex-SEAL friends are working on another murder case. This mystery occurs in Craige’s neck of the woods at Corpsewood Manor. Two bodies are found after the manor burns down. A dragonfly brooch is also found. Is it connected to the murders?

While they’re working on the case, a woman shows up who Craige and Spinner know all too well. They want to know why she is really here and if it has to do with the case.

There are so many questions! As usual, everything eventually fits into place so I had to keep reading to find out how.

Like the other books in The Moccasin Hollow Series, it took me a while to get into the book, I think partly because the author includes a lot of back story at the beginning so it does stand alone if you haven’t read the other books. It would be beneficial, though, to read Dead Gold before you read this one.

Once it got going, it was full of suspense, action, and twists. I also liked the ending. It’s definitely a book you’ll want to read if you like murder mysteries.

About the Author

Hawk MacKinney began writing mysteries for his school newspaper, served in the US Navy for over 20 years, earned two postgraduate degrees with studies in languages and history, taught postgraduate courses in the United States and Jerusalem, authored professional articles and chordate embryology texts on fetal and adult anatomy, and is well known for his works of fiction. Moccasin Trace, a historical novel, was nominated for the prestigious Michael Shaara Award for Excellence in Civil War Fiction and the Writers Notes Book Award. Both his CAIRNS OF SANCTUARIE science fiction series and the MOCCASIN HOLLOW MYSTERY series have received worldwide recognition.

Connect with the Author:     website  

Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card courtesy of the author of BLOOD OF THE DRAGONFLY (1 winner) (open to Amazon.com customers) (ends May 7)

Rafflecopter

Follow the Tour

Apr 12 – PIck a Good Book – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Apr 13 – Splashes of Joy – book review / author interview / giveaway
Apr 13 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Apr 14 – Ms. Cat’s Honest World – book review / guest post / giveaway
Apr 14 – Book Corner News and Reviews – book review / giveaway
Apr 15 – I Read What You Write – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Apr 16 – Books for Books – book spotlight
Apr 19 – Bigreadersite – book review / giveaway
Apr 20 – Bound 4 Escape – book review / giveaway
Apr 21 – Sadie’s Spotlight – book spotlight / giveaway
Apr 22 – Gina Rae Mitchell – book spotlight / giveaway
Apr 23 – Nighttime Reading Center – book review / giveaway
Apr 23 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book review / giveaway
Apr 26 – My Reading Journeys – book review / giveaway
Apr 26 – Kam’s Place – book spotlight
Apr 27 – Jazzy Book Reviews – book spotlight / giveaway
Apr 27 – Buried Under Books – book review / giveaway
Apr 28 – Sefina Hawke’s Books – book review / giveaway
Apr 29 – Stephanie Jane – book spotlight / giveaway
Apr 30 – Adventurous Jessy – book review / giveaway
Apr 30 – BookishKelly2020 – book spotlight
Apr 30 – Books Lattes & Tiaras – book spotlight / giveaway

Book Review: Every Last Fear by Alex Finlay

In one of the year’s most anticipated debut psychological thrillers, a family made infamous by a true crime documentary is found dead, leaving their surviving son to uncover the truth about their final days.

“They found the bodies on a Tuesday.” So begins this twisty and breathtaking novel that traces the fate of the Pine family, a thriller that will both leave you on the edge of your seat and move you to tears.

After a late night of partying, NYU student Matt Pine returns to his dorm room to devastating news: nearly his entire family—his mom, his dad, his little brother and sister—have been found dead from an apparent gas leak while vacationing in Mexico. The local police claim it was an accident, but the FBI and State Department seem far less certain—and they won’t tell Matt why.

The tragedy makes headlines everywhere because this isn’t the first time the Pine family has been thrust into the media spotlight. Matt’s older brother, Danny—currently serving a life sentence for the murder of his teenage girlfriend Charlotte—was the subject of a viral true crime documentary suggesting that Danny was wrongfully convicted. Though the country has rallied behind Danny, Matt holds a secret about his brother that he’s never told anyone: the night Charlotte was killed Matt saw something that makes him believe his brother is guilty of the crime.

When Matt returns to his small hometown to bury his parents and siblings, he’s faced with a hostile community that was villainized by the documentary, a frenzied media, and memories he’d hoped to leave behind forever. Now, as the deaths in Mexico appear increasingly suspicious and connected to Danny’s case, Matt must unearth the truth behind the crime that sent his brother to prison—putting his own life in peril—and forcing him to confront his every last fear.

Told through multiple points-of-view and alternating between past and present, Alex Finlay’s Every Last Fear is not only a page-turning thriller, it’s also a poignant story about a family managing heartbreak and tragedy, and living through a fame they never wanted. 

Amazon

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Matt Pine could not catch a break. I felt so sorry for him because he lost his entire family. First, his older brother went to prison for murdering his girlfriend. Then, his family was obsessed with proving his innocence. Then, they all died in an accident or were they murdered?

I like how this book goes back before Matt’s family dying to explain the prior events. Especially helpful was that the chapters that were before their deaths were titled “Before.” Going between the past and the present wasn’t a problem, and it helped to understand what happened.

Matt was a good guy who had some amazing friends. They even all showed up for the funeral for his family. They were there for him but allowed him space as needed.

Every Last Fear is full of suspense and is hard to put down. I had to stay up into the wee hours of the morning to finish this one, so be prepared. There are also some twists. I definitely recommend Every Last Fear!

About the Author

Alex Finlay is the pseudonym of an author who lives in Washington, D.C. Born in the American South, Alex spent years traversing the globe, from a tropical island in the Pacific to a small village in the UK to a remote region in the Far East. But it was on a trip to Tulum, Mexico that Alex was inspired to write Every Last Fear.

Website * Facebook * Instagram

Book Review: If She Dies by Erik Therme

Nine months ago, Tess’s five-year-old daughter was killed in a car accident. The driver, Brady Becker, was sentenced to two years in prison. It didn’t make Tess’s pain go away.

Brady also has a daughter: A twelve-year-old named Eve who walks to Chandler Middle School every day. Tess knows this because she’s been watching Eve for the last three weeks. It isn’t fair that Brady’s daughter gets to live, while Tess’s daughter does not.

When Eve goes missing, all eyes turn to Tess, who doesn’t have an alibi. But Tess isn’t guilty.

Or so she believes.

Amazon

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy from the author. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

I have read Erik Therme‘s books and enjoy his writing style and the suspense in his books. I liked this book but it wasn’t my favorite. I think it’s because the loss of a child hits a little too close to home. We lost a grandbaby and if it had been because of someone like Brady, I can see my daughter-in-law dealing with her immense grief in the same way Tess does. I know everyone deals with grief in their own way, but Tess’s husband, Josh, isn’t able to give Tess what she needs. And they are both terrible at communication.

Tess following Eve might seem over the top and creepy, but she needs to channel her grief somewhere. The story was more about her grief and her failing marriage than the mystery of what happened to Eve. Tess is suspected when Eve goes missing, but could she have done it knowing the heartache she’d cause Eve’s mom?

I really liked the last quarter or so of If She Dies. A lot is resolved in Tess’s world, and there’s a big twist. This is a story of tragedy, grief, and suspense that I recommend to anyone who likes drama with a bit of suspense.

About the Author

Erik Therme has thrashed in garage bands, inadvertently harbored runaways, and met Darth Vader. When he’s not at his computer, he can be found cheering on his youngest daughter’s volleyball team, or watching horror movies with his oldest. He currently resides in Iowa City, Iowa—one of only twenty-eight places in the world that UNESCO has certified as a City of Literature. Join Erik’s mailing list to be notified of new releases and author giveaways: http://eepurl.com/cD1F8L

Website: http://www.eriktherme.com
Twitter: eriktherme

Book Review: A Child Lost by Michelle Cox

A Child Lost: Henrietta and Inspector Howard Novel by Michelle Cox

Publisher:  She Writes Press (April 28, 2020)
Category: Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery, Romantic Suspense
Tour dates: Feb-March, 2020
ISBN: 978-1631528361
Available in Print and ebook, 408 pages


Description

A spiritualist, an insane asylum, a lost little girl . . .

When Clive, anxious to distract a depressed Henrietta, begs Sergeant Frank Davis for a case, he is assigned to investigating a seemingly boring affair: a spiritualist woman operating in an abandoned schoolhouse on the edge of town who is suspected of robbing people of their valuables. What begins as an open and shut case becomes more complicated, however, when Henrietta—much to Clive’s dismay—begins to believe the spiritualist’s strange ramblings.

Meanwhile, Elsie implores Clive and Henrietta to help her and the object of her budding love, Gunther, locate the whereabouts of one Liesel Klinkhammer, the German woman Gunther has traveled to America to find and the mother of the little girl, Anna, whom he has brought along with him. The search leads them to Dunning Asylum, where they discover some terrible truths about Liesel. When the child, Anna, is herself mistakenly admitted to the asylum after an epileptic fit, Clive and Henrietta return to Dunning to retrieve her. This time, however, Henrietta begins to suspect that something darker may be happening. When Clive doesn’t believe her, she decides to take matters into her own hands . . . with horrifying results.

Amazon (Kindle, Audible, & Print)
Apple{eBook)
Apple (Audiobook)
Kobo (eBook)
Kobo (Audiobook)
IndieBound

Guest Review by Sal

Wow! That’s all I have to say about this stunning novel from Michelle Cox. Take a dash of history, add some intrigue and mystery and splash in some romance and you get ‘A Child Lost,’ the most recent addition to Cox’s ‘Henrietta and Inspector Howard’ series.

What begins as a normal mystery for Clive and his wife Henrietta, develops into something much more sinister, and before the end of the novel, both characters begin to wonder if they will be able to solve this mystery with their safety intact.

But lets back things up to the beginning. This series is set in 1930’s Chicago, a time that we probably all associate with brutal mobsters, a rapidly industrializing city, and a tough life for many normal people.

Clive Howard is a private detective, a past a soldier, who is married to Henrietta, a woman who is his match in cleverness and curiosity. In the previous books in the series, the two have often solved crimes together in fun and interesting ways.  Although I haven’t read the other books in the series, I was able to enjoy this one as the author did an excellent job summarizing everything that you need to know as you go along.

This time, Henrietta and Clive are tasked with solving a mystery about a spiritualist who appears to be stealing from people. However, since Henrietta is in a delicate emotional state because of the recent loss of their unborn child, she quickly gets pulled in by the spiritualist’s routine and Clive begins to regret involving her in this case. Meanwhile, another case that a friend asks them to look into involves a mental institution, dark family secrets and an injustice that has permeated for years.

I recommend this to anyone that loves historical romance with a mystery. I had a great reading experience with this one and I think you will too! Now I have to back track and read all the books in the series! I highly recommend it and give it all 5 stars!

Praise for A Child Lost

“Michelle Cox’s delightful storytelling has a bewitching charm that will keep readers glued to their seats with a perfect blend of absorbing historical facts, intriguing mystery, and thrilling romance.” – Readers Favorite

A Child Lost is undoubtedly a novel that should not be missed—the story is genius, flawlessly written, and wildly entertaining!  A thrilling five stars!” — The Red Headed Book Lover

“Once again, Cox delivers the passion and intrigue of Henrietta and Clive with a story that leaps right off the page. A Child Lost is a true thrill… — Paperback Paris

“…vivid descriptive prose and historical accuracy – Publishers Weekly

““There is not a dull moment in this book. Cox’s characters are so well portrayed in their physical traits, their manner of speech, their actions, their personalities as well as through their dilemmas and moments of joy. Cox sure knows how to create characters that are memorable and distinct.” – Library of Clean Reads

About the Author

Michelle Cox is the author of the multiple award-winning Henrietta and Inspector Howard series as well as Novel Notes of Local Lore, a weekly blog dedicated to Chicago’s forgotten residents. She suspects she may have once lived in the 1930s and, having yet to discover a handy time machine lying around, has resorted to writing about the era as a way of getting herself back there. (Her books have been praised by Kirkus, Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and many others, so she might be on to something.)

Unbeknownst to most, Cox hoards board games she doesn’t have time to play and is, not surprisingly, addicted to period dramas and big band music. Also, marmalade.

Website: http://michellecoxauthor.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/michellecoxauthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/michellecox33
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/michellecoxwrites/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/michelle-cox-ab8700193/
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/michelle-cox
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/michelle-cox-610476432

Follow the Tour

Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus Feb 2 Kickoff & Interview

Dee Donadees Corner Feb 3 Review

Cindy Amazon Feb 4 Review (postpned)

Bookgirl Goodreads Feb 5 Review

Leigh N. Amazon Feb 8 Review

Betty Toots Book Reviews Feb 10 Review

Kimberly Amazon Feb 11 Review

Herta Chrysalis Editorial Feb 12 Review & Interview

Jo Amazon Feb 15 Review

Am Goodreads Feb 17 Review

Sal Bound 4 Escape Feb 18 Guest Review

Nadia A Bookish Way Of Life Feb 23 Review

GudReader Goodreads Feb 25 Review

Amanda My Tangled Skeins Book Reviews Feb 26 Review & Excerpt

Denise Amazon.ca Mar 1 Review

Lu Ann Rockin’ Book Reviews Mar 2 Review

Lisa’s Writopia Mar 3 Review

Jody Amazon Mar 4 Review

Annie The Write Review Mar 5 Spotlight

Lynelle Inspire to read Mar 8 Review & Excerpt

Linda Lu Goodreads Mar 10 Review

Laura Lee Celtic Lady’s Reviews Mar 12 Guest Review & Excerpt

Becky Amazon Mar 15 Review

Bee Book Pleasures Mar 19 Review                                          I

Donna T Amazon Mar 24 Review

Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus Mar 25 Review

Mindy Room Without Books is Empty Mar 30 Review

Audiobook Review & Giveaway: Burden of Hate by Helen Starbuck

Book Title: The Burden of Hate (An Annie Collins Mystery) by Helen Starbuck
Category:  Adult Fiction (18+), 216 pages
Genre:  Mystery
Publisher:  Routt Street Press
Release date:  March 2020
Content Rating: R. Several explicit sex scenes, profanity, medical scenes

How far would you go for someone you love? How much hate would you need to commit murder? Revenge. Hate. Fear. Not exactly traditional wedding gifts. But when convicted killer Ian Patterson escapes from prison, operating room nurse Annie Collins and fiancé assistant district attorney Angel Cisneros are forced to confront these realities head on. Will Ian Patterson’s quest for revenge toward the two people responsible for sending him to prison—Annie Collins and Angel Cisneros—bring them face to face to settle the score once and for all? Find out why Kirkus Reviews calls The Burden of Hate“A thriller that offers a master class in suspense.”


Buy the Book:
Amazon ~ Audible
B&N ~ BAM  

My Review

I chose to listen to this audiobook after receiving a free e-copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased. Burden of Hate can be read as a standalone but it would be better after reading Mad Hatter’s Son and No Pity in Death.

Annie and and Angel are getting married! Angel’s mom makes sure that it’s a beautiful wedding, but sometimes you can’t plan everything.

The main focus of Burden of Hate is how Annie and Angel deal with Ian breaking out of prison. He’s back, and he’s making clear that he wants revenge. The police are trying to find him, but he’s good at being invisible. Even if he can’t get close enough to kill Annie or Angel, he’s causing a lot of stress in their marriage.

Once again, Annie ends up involved in investigating a murder. This time, the priest who was supposed to marry them was found murdered. She doesn’t plan on investigating it, but her mother-in-law knows the family and promises that Annie will look into it. Annie does come up with some clues for the police.

Annie continues to grow. She’s able to keep her temper under control most of the time, but there were a couple of times she overreacted. Angel doesn’t handle being forced to stay home well. It’s a side of him that I haven’t seen before, and it’s not pretty. It makes him more human, though, rather than the perfect boyfriend he was in the previous book.

I enjoy Helen Starbuck’s writing. It flows well. The narrator, Suzanne T. Fortin, did a fabulous job. Her timing is spot on and vocal expression helps tell the story.

I liked all three of the books in this series that I’ve read so far. I would prefer more focus on the mystery and a little less on the drama, but that’s a personal preference, and I’m sure there are readers who disagree. I enjoyed the ending of Burden of Hate, and I hope there are more Annie Collins stories to come.

About the Author

Helen Starbuck is a Colorado native, former OR nurse, and award-winning author of the standalone romantic suspense novel Legacy of Secrets, and the Annie Collins Mystery Series. She loves mysteries, suspense, romance, and any book that is well written. She’s a huge fan of books with independent, strong, women characters and, as Neil Gaiman says, “…stories where women save themselves.”

Connect with the author:  Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~Instagram ~ Pinterest ~ Goodreads

Giveaway

rafflecopter.com

Follow the Tour

Jan 13 – Book Corner News and Reviews – book review of The Mad Hatter’s Son / giveaway
Jan 13 – Literary Flits – books spotlight / giveaway
Jan 14 – CorinneRodrigues – book review of The Mad Hatter’s Son / giveaway
Jan 14 – She Just Loves Books – audiobook review of The Mad Hatter’s Son / giveaway
Jan 15 – Book Corner News and Reviews – book review of No Pity in Death / giveaway
Jan 15 – Books Lattes & Tiaras – book review of The Mad Hatter’s Son / giveaway
Jan 15 – Bound 4 Escape – audiobook review of The Mad Hatter’s Son
Jan 18 – Book Corner News and Reviews – book review of The Burden of Hate / giveaway
Jan 19 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author blog – book spotlight / giveaway
Jan 19 – – She Just Loves Books – audiobook review of No Pity in Death / giveaway
Jan 19  – Bigreadersite – book review of The Mad Hatter’s Son
Jan 20 – Locks, Hooks and Books – audiobook review of The Mad Hatter’s Son / giveaway
Jan 21 – Olio by Marilyn – book review of The Mad Hatter’s Son / giveaway
Jan 22 – CorinneRodrigues – book review of No Pity in Death / giveaway
Jan 25 – StoreyBook Reviews – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Jan 26 – Bigreadersite – book review of No Pity in Death
Jan 26 – She Just Loves Books – audiobook review of The Burden of Hate / giveaway
Jan 27 – Locks, Hooks and Books – audiobook review of No Pity in Death / giveaway
Jan 28 – Olio by Marilyn – book review of No Pity in Death / giveaway
Jan 29 – Books Lattes & Tiaras – book review of No Pity in Death / giveaway
Jan 29 – Bound 4 Escape – audiobook review of No Pity in Death
Feb 1 – Books and Zebras @jypsylynn – book review of The Burden of Hate / giveaway
Feb 1 – Sadie’s Spotlight – book spotlight / giveaway
Feb 2 – CorinneRodrigues – book review of The Burden of Hate / giveaway
Feb 2 – Bigreadersite – book review of The Burden of Hate
Feb 3 – Locks, Hooks and Books – audiobook review of The Burden of Hate / giveaway
Feb 3 – Pine Enshrined Reviews – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Feb 4 – Olio by Marilyn – book review of The Burden of Hate / giveaway
Feb 5 – Books Lattes & Tiaras – book review of The Burden of Hate / giveaway
Feb 8 – fundinmental – book spotlight / giveaway
Feb 8 – Bound 4 Escape – audiobook review of The Burden of Hate
Feb 9 – Adventurous Jessy – book review of The Burden of Hate / giveaway
Feb 9 – Stephanie Jane – book spotlight / giveaway

Audiobook Review: No Pity in Death by Helen Starbuck

Book Title: No Pity in Death (An Annie Collins Mystery #2) by Helen Starbuck
Category:  Adult Fiction (18+), 249 pages
Genre:  Mystery
Publisher:  Routt Street Press
Release date:  2019
Content Rating: R. Two explicit sex scenes, profanity, medical scenes.

Struggling to put her life back together after almost being murdered, operating room nurse Annie Collins agrees to help homicide Detective Alex Frost investigate a troubling number of patient deaths in the ICU step down unit at her hospital. Are the patients succumbing to life threatening illnesses or is someone helping them die? Assistant district attorney and close friend, Angel Cisneros, worries about Annie’s involvement with Frost’s investigation, and his concern escalates after a person from her past contacts her. His feelings for her, which have grown deeper, complicate everything. Dangerous enemies are something Annie and Angel have in common. As they quickly discover, paybacks can be hell.


Buy the Book:
Amazon ~ Audible
BAM 

My Review

Annie and and her neighbor Angel have been close friends for quite a while, and I was happy to see them become more than friends in No Pity in Death. They’re good for each other.

Once again, Annie ends up involved in investigating murders. This time, there are an unusual number of terminally ill patients dying in the hospital. It is suspected that someone in the hospital is helping them die. Since Annie already knows Detective Frost, she agrees to help investigate by going through charts and keeping an eye out for anything suspicious, which she’s good at.

Annie is still trying to get over the fact that she almost died at the hands of Ian, and him contacting her doesn’t help at all. And now Angel is in danger as well. Can these two not catch a break?

I thought Annie wasn’t quite as clueless as she was in the first book. I was getting tired of her temper but had to remind myself that she’d been through a lot, and she did eventually realize that she was being nonsensical. I was impressed by the fact that things weren’t blown out of proportion like they are sometimes in fiction. She and Angel fought and made up.

I enjoy Helen Starbuck’s writing. It flows well as does the narration by Suzanne T. Fortin. I liked No Pity in Death more than The Mad Hatter’s Son, and I am looking forward to Burden of Hate, the next book in the series.

About the Author

Helen Starbuck is a Colorado native, former OR nurse, and award-winning author of the standalone romantic suspense novel Legacy of Secrets, and the Annie Collins Mystery Series. She loves mysteries, suspense, romance, and any book that is well written. She’s a huge fan of books with independent, strong, women characters and, as Neil Gaiman says, “…stories where women save themselves.”

Connect with the author:  Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~Instagram ~ Pinterest ~ Goodreads

Giveaway

rafflecopter.com

Follow the Tour

Jan 13 – Book Corner News and Reviews – book review of The Mad Hatter’s Son / giveaway
Jan 13 – Literary Flits – books spotlight / giveaway
Jan 14 – CorinneRodrigues – book review of The Mad Hatter’s Son / giveaway
Jan 14 – She Just Loves Books – audiobook review of The Mad Hatter’s Son / giveaway
Jan 15 – Book Corner News and Reviews – book review of No Pity in Death / giveaway
Jan 15 – Books Lattes & Tiaras – book review of The Mad Hatter’s Son / giveaway
Jan 15 – Bound 4 Escape – audiobook review of The Mad Hatter’s Son
Jan 18 – Book Corner News and Reviews – book review of The Burden of Hate / giveaway
Jan 19 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author blog – book spotlight / giveaway
Jan 19 – – She Just Loves Books – audiobook review of No Pity in Death / giveaway
Jan 19  – Bigreadersite – book review of The Mad Hatter’s Son
Jan 20 – Locks, Hooks and Books – audiobook review of The Mad Hatter’s Son / giveaway
Jan 21 – Olio by Marilyn – book review of The Mad Hatter’s Son / giveaway
Jan 22 – CorinneRodrigues – book review of No Pity in Death / giveaway
Jan 25 – StoreyBook Reviews – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Jan 26 – Bigreadersite – book review of No Pity in Death
Jan 26 – She Just Loves Books – audiobook review of The Burden of Hate / giveaway
Jan 27 – Locks, Hooks and Books – audiobook review of No Pity in Death / giveaway
Jan 28 – Olio by Marilyn – book review of No Pity in Death / giveaway
Jan 29 – Books Lattes & Tiaras – book review of No Pity in Death / giveaway
Jan 29 – Bound 4 Escape – audiobook review of No Pity in Death
Feb 1 – Books and Zebras @jypsylynn – book review of The Burden of Hate / giveaway
Feb 1 – Sadie’s Spotlight – book spotlight / giveaway
Feb 2 – CorinneRodrigues – book review of The Burden of Hate / giveaway
Feb 2 – Bigreadersite – book review of The Burden of Hate
Feb 3 – Locks, Hooks and Books – audiobook review of The Burden of Hate / giveaway
Feb 3 – Pine Enshrined Reviews – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Feb 4 – Olio by Marilyn – book review of The Burden of Hate / giveaway
Feb 5 – Books Lattes & Tiaras – book review of The Burden of Hate / giveaway
Feb 8 – fundinmental – book spotlight / giveaway
Feb 8 – Bound 4 Escape – audiobook review of The Burden of Hate
Feb 9 – Adventurous Jessy – book review of The Burden of Hate / giveaway
Feb 9 – Stephanie Jane – book spotlight / giveaway