Book Review & Giveaway: Real Murder by Lauren Carr

When Homicide Detective Cameron Gates befriends Dolly, the little old lady who lives across the street, she is warned not to get lured into helping the elderly woman by investigating the unsolved murder of one of her girls. “She’s senile,” Cameron is warned. “It’s not a real murder.”
Such is not the case. After Dolly is brutally murdered, Cameron discovers that the sweet blue-haired lady’s “girl” was a call girl, who had been killed in a mysterious double homicide.

Meanwhile, Prosecuting Attorney Joshua Thornton is looking for answers to the murder of a childhood friend, a sheriff deputy whose cruiser is found at the bottom of a lake. The deputy had disappeared almost twenty years ago while privately investigating the murder of a local prostitute.

It doesn’t take long for the Lovers in Crime to put their cases together to reveal a long-kept secret that some believe is worth killing to keep undercover.

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 quite a few of Lauren Carr’s books, and I’m never disappointed. Although she writes several different series, most of the characters are related in some way. So, even when I start a new series, I usually know a little bit about one or more of the characters.

Real Murder is the second book in the Lovers in Crime series. I recently read the first book, Dead on Ice, and I like reading series in order when I can, so I was looking forward to reading this one.

Joshua Thornton and his new wife Cameron are once again involved in a case. An old friend of Joshua’s disappeared several years ago, and his body is finally found. Joshua makes it his mission to find answers. At the same time, Cameron is working on another case involving the murder of a sweet old neighbor. The way these cases end up being intertwined is clever.

The murder mysteries are interesting, but the relationship between Joshua and Cameron is also an important part of Real Murder. They’re newlyweds but they do have their moments. They got married without a big wedding which is causing some friction with Joshua’s adult children. Joshua and Cameron do a good job at making things work even if sometimes it takes them a little while to figure things out. Lauren Carr does a great job of making the characters “real.”

I definitely recommend Real Murder. Along with the mystery and drama there is a little suspense and humor. I’m looking forward to reading the next Lovers in Crime book.

About the Author

Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Thorny Rose, Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Chris Matheson Cold Case Mysteries—over twenty titles across four fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, crime fiction, police procedurals, romance, and humor. 

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. 

The owner of Acorn Book Services, Lauren is also a publishing manager, consultant, editor, cover and layout designer, and marketing agent for independent authors.  

She lives with her husband, and two spoiled rotten German shepherds on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV. 

Amazon * iBook * Audible * Barnes & Noble * Kobo Smashwords

Goodreads * Website

Giveaway

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/518e72841/

Book Review & Giveaway: Dead on Ice by Lauren Carr

Dead on Ice is the first installment of Lauren Carr’s new series (Lovers in Crime) featuring Hancock County Prosecuting Attorney Joshua Thornton and Pennsylvania State Police homicide detective Cameron Gates.

Spunky Cameron Gates is tasked with solving the murder of Cherry Pickens, a legendary star of pornographic films, whose body turns up in an abandoned freezer. The case has a personal connection to her lover, Joshua Thornton, because the freezer was located in his cousin’s basement. It doesn’t take long for their investigation to reveal that the risqué star’s roots were buried in their rural Ohio Valley community, something that Cherry had kept off her show business bio. She should have kept her hometown off her road map, too—because when this starlet came running home from the mob, it proved to be a fatal homecoming.

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 quite a few of Lauren Carr’s books, and I’m never disappointed. Although she writes several different series, most of the characters are related in some way. So, even when I start a new series, I usually know a little bit about one or more of the characters.

In Dead on Ice, a body is found in an old freezer in the basement of the cousin of Joshua Thornton. Cameron, Joshua’s girlfriend, is the investigating officer. She has to delve into the town’s past which some find awkward and uncomfortable. But Cameron is a strong woman and up to the task.

I not only like the murder mysteries in this book (yes, mysteries), but I like the relationship that is budding between Joshua and Cameron. And since there are kids involved, it can be complicated. Joshua and Cameron do a good job at making things work even if sometimes it takes them a little while to figure things out.

I definitely recommend Dead on Ice. Along with the mystery and drama there is a little suspense and humor. I’m looking forward to reading the next Lovers in Crime book.

About the Author

Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Thorny Rose, Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Chris Matheson Cold Case Mysteries—over twenty titles across four fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, crime fiction, police procedurals, romance, and humor. 

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. 

The owner of Acorn Book Services, Lauren is also a publishing manager, consultant, editor, cover and layout designer, and marketing agent for independent authors.  

She lives with her husband, and two spoiled rotten German shepherds on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV. 

Amazon * iBook * Audible * Barnes & Noble * Kobo Smashwords

Goodreads * Website

Giveaway

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/518e72841/

Book Review: The Shape of Night by Tess Gerritsen

A woman trying to outrun her past is drawn to a quiet coastal town in Maine–and to a string of unsolved murders–in this haunting tale of romantic suspense from New York Times bestselling author Tess Gerritsen.

Ava Collette is punishing herself for an unspeakable tragedy. So she flees Boston and rents an old home named Brodie’s Watch on a remote coastal peninsula of Maine, hoping to work on a cookbook inspired by New England cuisine that she’s been trying to finish for months. She immediately feels at peace in the isolated house–until she starts to hear strange noises.

Rumor has it that a sea captain named Brodie has haunted the house for decades. Then, one night, Ava is awakened to find herself face to face with an apparition who looks–and feels–all too real. Meanwhile, there’s been a series of accidental deaths nearby that don’t add up. And as Ava starts to check into the previous renter’s mysterious disappearance, she starts to realize that there’s a disturbing secret some in town are desperate to keep hidden.

Soon all of Ava’s waking hours are consumed by her investigation, and her nights are ignited by Captain Brodie’s ghostly visits. But even as she questions her own sanity, she knows she must uncover the truth before a killer strikes again.

Pre-order on Amazon

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. I sold a lot of Tess Gerritsen books when I owned a bookstore, and I enjoyed Rizzoli & Isles on TV, so I was looking forward to reading this book.

Shape of Night is a paranormal psychological thriller. It’s not what I expected, but after a few pages I was hooked.

Ava is full of guilt because of something that happened in Boston, so she moves into Brodie’s Watch for a few months to get away. It’s a big old house that was once owned by Captain Brody who died at sea many years ago. Because they’re doing some construction on it, the rent is affordable and she relishes the time alone to write her newest cookbook.

Ava drinks a lot to help ease the pain of her guilt, so when she sees the ghost of Captain Brody, she’s not sure if he’s real or a figment of her imagination. As she learns more about the house’s past, she realizes that Captain Brody isn’t only real, but that she may be in danger.

The characters in Shape of Night are realistic and flawed just like real people. Ava has a drinking problem, hasn’t had a decent relationship with a man, and is holding a big secret that is tearing her apart. Even though she’s a mess, I liked he. Just like in any small town, the townsfolk are gossips and there are secrets that are kept from outsiders. Sometimes intentionally, sometimes not.

I enjoyed this book more than I expected to when I started it. It kept my interest throughout, I like Tess Gerritsen’s writing style, and there was more than one twist which is always great. It also has a good ending.

About the Author

Internationally bestselling author Tess Gerritsen took an unusual route to a writing career. A graduate of Stanford University, Tess went on to medical school at the University of California, San Francisco, where she was awarded her M.D.

While on maternity leave from her work as a physician, she began to write fiction. In 1987, her first novel was published. Call After Midnight, a romantic thriller, was followed by eight more romantic suspense novels. She also wrote a screenplay, “Adrift”, which aired as a 1993 CBS Movie of the Week starring Kate Jackson.

Tess’s first medical thriller, Harvest, was released in hardcover in 1996, and it marked her debut on the New York Times bestseller list. Her suspense novels since then have been: Life Support (1997), Bloodstream (1998), Gravity (1999), The Surgeon (2001), The Apprentice (2002), The Sinner (2003), Body Double (2004), Vanish (2005), The Mephisto Club (2006), and The Bone Garden (2007). Her books have been translated into 31 languages, and more than 15 million copies have been sold around the world.

As well as being a New York Times bestselling author, she has also been a #1 bestseller in both Germany and the UK. She has won both the Nero Wolfe Award (for Vanish) and the Rita Award (for The Surgeon.) Critics around the world have praised her novels as “Pulse-pounding fun” (Philadelphia Inquirer), “Scary and brilliant” (Toronto Globe and Mail), and “Polished, riveting prose” (Chicago Tribune). Publisher Weekly has dubbed her the “medical suspense queen”.

Now retired from medicine, she writes full time. She lives in Maine. 

Website http://www.tessgerritsen.com/

Book Review: Leave no Trace by Mindy Mejia

There is a place in Minnesota with hundreds of miles of glacial lakes and untouched forests called the Boundary Waters. Ten years ago a man and his son trekked into this wilderness and never returned.

Search teams found their campsite ravaged by what looked like a bear. They were presumed dead until a decade later…the son appeared. Discovered while ransacking an outfitter store, he was violent and uncommunicative and sent to a psychiatric facility. Maya Stark, the assistant language therapist, is charged with making a connection with their high-profile patient. No matter how she tries, however, he refuses to answer questions about his father or the last ten years of his life

But Maya, who was abandoned by her own mother, has secrets, too. And as she’s drawn closer to this enigmatic boy who is no longer a boy, she’ll risk everything to reunite him with his father who has disappeared from the known world.

My Review

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

Maya had her share of problems as a teen, but she has turned her life around and is working as a speech therapist in the same psychiatric facility that she was treated in. But when her boss (and therapist) assigns her to work with Lucas, her world is turned upside down.

Lucas won’t communicate with anyone but Maya because he thinks he remembers her from sometime in the past. He just can’t quite remember when. Because she’s the only one he’ll communicate with, she’s asked to get as much info from him as she can even though he doesn’t seem to need speech therapy. To have her, a speech therapist, as his only therapist seemed a bit unrealistic to me, even if he wouldn’t communicate with anyone else. It makes for a good story, though.

I like these characters. Maya and Lucas are both psychologically damaged, but they’re still good people trying to do the right thing. As their bond grows stronger, Maya is determined to help Lucas get out of the facility and find his father.

Once I started reading this book, I couldn’t put it down. I love books in which the characters are this well developed. It makes me need to keep reading, although I did have to stop once or twice to cry.

Toward the end of Leave No Trace there is suspense added to the already good story. There are also a couple of twists. This is definitely a book I recommend, and I’m going to have to read Everything You Want Me to Be, Mindy Mejia’s last book, soon.

About the Author

My name is Mindy Mejia and I’m a writer. I write because, ever since I was six years old, my favorite game has been pretend. My life doesn’t have symmetry, theme, symbolism, or meditated beauty and I gravitate toward these things like a houseplant to the sun. I love the perfect words; I love how “fierce” and “confounded” and “swagger” look on the page and how my chest expands when I read them. I write because I believe in the reality of my fantasies, the truth in my fabrications. I’ve always had stories sneaking around my head, thrillers like THE DRAGON KEEPER and EVERYTHING YOU WANT ME TO BE, and sometimes I inhabit those stories more than my own life. (Best not to mention that last part to my husband, kids, or boss).

Website https://www.MindyMejia.com
Twitter MejiaWrites

Audiobook Review & Giveaway: Killer in the Band by Lauren Carr

Summer of Love & Murder

Joshua’s eldest son, Joshua “J.J.” Thornton Jr., has graduated at the top of his class from law school and returns home to spend the summer studying for the bar exam. However, to Joshua’s and Cameron’s shock and dismay, J.J. moves into the main house at Russell Ridge Farm, the largest dairy farm in the Ohio Valley, to rekindle a romance with Suellen Russell, a onetime leader of a rock group who’s twice his age. Quickly, they learn that she has been keeping a deep dark secret.

The move brings long-buried tensions between the father and son to the surface. But when a brutal killer strikes, the Lovers in Crime must set all differences aside to solve the crime before J.J. ends up in the cross hairs of a murderer.

Praise for Lauren Carr’s Mysteries:

“Lauren Carr could give Agatha Christie a run for her money!”

– Charlene Mabie-Gamble, Literary R&R

“As always, Lauren Carr brings an action-packed story that is almost impossible to put down. Her mystery plots have so many twists and turns that I didn’t know if I was coming or going. And the action just didn’t stop from the very beginning till the very end.” – Melina Mason, Melina’s Book Reviews

Buy the Book:

Amazon  ~  Barnes & Noble

Add to Goodreads

My Review

I chose to listen to this book after receiving a free audiocopy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

I had read this book about Cameron Gates and Joshua Thornton and was happy to listen to the audiobook, since I liked it the first time. Even though this is the third book in the series, it definitely stands on its own.

Killer in the Band is about Detective Cameron Gates solving some cold cases that affect members of the Thornton family. There are several stories occurring at the same time about the different members of the Thortons: murder mysteries, family discord, new friendships, and a May-December romance.

The characters are complex and, as usual in Lauren Carr’s books, there are many of them. She always makes it easy to keep them separate, though.

I like that the characters are all flawed in some way just like “real” people and that they try to overcome those flaws as the story progresses. My favorite characters, however, are the animals. From the horse who opens stalls to the rooster who attacks almost everyone, they bring humor to an otherwise suspenseful story.

I’ve listened to enough of Lauren Carr’s books that the narrator seems like an old friend. He does a great job narrating the stories, and I hope he continues to be the narrator in the future.

I definitely recommend Killer in the Band, whether you read it or listen to it, and look forward to reading more of Lauren Carr’s books.

Author’s Bio

Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr’s seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, romance, and humor.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband, son, and four dogs (including the real Gnarly) on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Connect with Lauren: Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook

Giveaway

Win a $50 Amazon Gift Card courtesy of Lauren Carr, author of The Root of Murder (open to wherever Amazon.com delivers)

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Book Review: One of Us by Rachel McLean

‘Leave, or die.’

Jess Dyer has won safety for her sister-in-law Ruth and proved her worth as the leader of her refugee community.

Sarah Evans has stood up to her parents and discovered who she can trust.

But the villagers still aren’t welcome. When the local population expresses its anger, can Jess keep everyone safe? And can she hold it together as Steward when someone she loves dies?

And how will Sarah react when her new fiance Martin receives death threats, telling him he must leave her, and their village?

One Of Us is a gripping thriller about belonging and acceptance. It’s the third book in the Village trilogy and the sequel to Sea Of Lies.

Purchase Link:

https://books2read.com/one-of-us

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. I had read Thicker Than Water and Sea of Lies, the first two books in this trilogy, and was looking forward to reading the last one.

Six months ago, several women were kidnapped from the refugee community but the women are still trying to deal with the abduction. A couple of them are dealing in healthy ways and a couple aren’t dealing with it very well.

At the same time, the nearby town of Filey has had an explosion and a lot of the citizens have lost their homes. They’re now expecting the refugee community to share their housing even though they’re not welcome in town.

It seems like all hell has broken loose, and the steward of the refugee community, Jess, is having trouble keeping up. Not only does she have a lot to take care of but her brother fights her at every turn. It’s quite annoying because it doesn’t matter what the subject is, he disagrees with Jess.

There is a wide array of characters. I like how the author portrays most of them as all good or all bad at the beginning but by the end, the reader learns that not everything is as it seems. I was surprised at how much a couple of the characters had changed since the first book.

The end of the trilogy was a little unexpected but it was a good ending.

About the Author

My name’s Rachel McLean and I write thrillers that make you think.

What does that mean?

In short, I want my stories to make your pulse race and your brain tick.

Do you often get through a thriller at a breakneck pace but are left with little sense of what the book was really about? Do you sometimes read literary fiction but just wish something would damn well happen?

My books aim to fill that gap.

If you’d like to know more about my books and receive extra bonus content, please join my book club at rachelmclean.com/bookclub. I’ll send you a weekly email with news about my writing research and progress, stories and bonus content for each book. And I’ll let you know when my books are on offer.

Social Media Links –

Twitter: https://twitter.com/rachelmcwrites

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rachelmcleanwrites/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rachelmcwrites/

Book Review: The Circle by Mario Escobar

The famous psychiatrist Solomon Lewin has left his humanitarian work in India to serve as the chief psychiatrist at the Center for Psychological Illness located in London’s Square Mile financial district. Though well paid, the job is monotonous, and Solomon is also going through a rough patch in his marriage with Margaret. He begins scrutinizing the more mysterious cases of the center’s long-term residents hoping to find something worth his time. When he comes across the chart of Maryam Batool, a young broker from London who has lived in the center for seven years, his life will change forever. 
Maryam Batool is an orphan from Pakistan who became one of the most promising female employees of the financial institution General Society, but in the summer of 2007, at the start of the financial crisis, the young broker loses her mind and tries to kill herself. Since then she has been stuck, able only to draw circles yet unable to understand their meaning. 
A snow storm looms over the city at the start of the Christmas holidays. Before Christmas Eve dinner, Solomon receives an urgent call from the center to come at once: Maryam has attacked a nurse and seems to be awakening from her long stupor. 
Solomon heads downtown in the snow, clueless that this will be the most difficult night of his life. The psychiatrist does not trust his patient, the police are after them, and his family seems to be in danger. The only way to protect himself and those he loves is to discover what “The Circle” is and why everyone seems to want his patient dead. It’s a surprise ending and a mystery you won’t believe. 

What is hiding in the City of London? Who is behind the biggest business center in the world? What is the truth behind “The Circle”? Can Solomon save his family? 

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.

Solomon has had a rewarding career as a psychiatrist but has now settled in London with his family and is the head of a psychiatric facility. He’s afraid that he’s going to be bored, and his wife Margaret is already bored. She loves her children with all her heart but she wants more. Their marriage is suffering but they both want it to work and are starting to take steps to improve it.

Suddenly, everything changes on Christmas Eve when a patient suddenly awakens from a stupor of 7 years. Solomon is called into the hospital when this happens but when he arrives, he finds a couple of the employees murdered and the patient awake but confused.

From this point on, I had to read the rest of the book in one sitting. It’s confusing at times but everything falls into place by the end of the book. There’s a lot of action and suspense. The ending was unexpected and one that I’ll remember for quite a while.

About the Author

Mario Escobar Golderos has a degree in History, with an advanced studies diploma in Modern History. He has written numerous books and articles about the Inquisition, the Protestant Reformation, and religious sects. He is the executive director of an NGO and directs the magazine Nueva historia para el debate, in addition to being a contributing columnist in various publications. Passionate about history and its mysteries, Escobar has delved into the depths of church history, the different sectarian groups that have struggled therein, and the discovery and colonization of the Americas. He specializes in the lives of unorthodox Spaniards and Americans.