Posted in 3 1/2 paws, Anthology, Dark, Review on January 21, 2018

Synopsis

17 stories of difficult love, broken hearts, lost hope, and discarded truths. Love brings pain, vulnerability, and demands of revenge. Hardened Hearts spills the sum of darkness and light concerning the measures of love; including works from Meg Elison, author of The Book of the Unnamed Midwife (Winner of the Philip K. Dick Award), Tom Deady, author of Haven (Winner of the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a First Novel), Gwendolyn Kiste, author of And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe and Pretty Marys All in a Row, and many more.

Hardened Hearts dips from speculative, horror, science fiction, fantasy, into literary and then out of the classifiable and into the waters of unpinned genres, but pure entertainment nonetheless.

Review

Enclosed in this book are 17 short stories that range from 3 pages to about 30 (I didn’t count on some of the longer ones!).

Most of these stories are dark and some can be depressing when you look at the storyline.  But at the same time, some of these stories have an underlying moral to the story that should not be overlooked.

I liked most of the stories as they intrigued me and took me on an adventure through another time and place.  Some I wished were longer because I felt like there was more than could be told.  A few ended abruptly and left me wanting to know what happened next.

Overall these stories were intriguing and it was not all hearts and roses, but rather the heartbreak that we all experience at one time or another.

We give it 3 1/2 paws.

 

 

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Posted in 3 1/2 paws, Cozy, Giveaway, mystery, Review on January 6, 2018

FATAL FALL: A Lori Reynolds Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Cozy Cat Press (September 28, 2017)
Paperback: 220 pages

Lori Reynolds thought she’d never return to the home where she spent her teenage years, but her sister Kay’s death from a fall down a staircase, changes all that. Having recently spoken with her sister on the phone, and knowing how worried Kay had been about all the strange things happening in her house, Lori suspects that her sister’s fall was anything but an accident and she resolves to investigate. Now that she has arrived for Kay’s funeral, she is caught up in the very family battles that she had tried to avoid when she left seven years ago. From Kay’s husband, Trevor, to his daughter from a previous marriage, Selena, to Lori’s first love and now Selena’s husband, Marc, to Trevor’s brother, Derek, to Selena’s grandmother, to Trevor and Kay’s daughter, Amber, the tension runs high. Then it really explodes when Trevor’s first wife, Jocelyn, decides to make an appearance. Did any of these family members have a motive strong enough to kill Kay? And if so, what was it? Kay moves closer and closer to the truth behind her sister’s fatal fall.

Buy from Cozy Cat Press

Review

Lori is shocked to learn her sister has died from a fall in her home. She knows Kay better than that and immediately assumes someone has killed her. So she heads from Dallas back to where she grew up to uncover what really happened.

I had mixed feelings about this book. I enjoyed getting to know the characters and their motivations, trying to figure out what secrets different people were hiding and imagining being on a beach when it is cold where I live right now! On the flip side, I don’t know that I liked Lori. She was very pushy, pushier than I would have expected, in trying to uncover the truth. I guess I would never have assumed that someone was murdered right off the bat. But her persistence is what uncovers the truth about Kay’s death and what other secrets the family is hiding.

I was quite surprised at the turn of events at the end. Sure I knew some people did not have sterling characters but the depth of their malicious intents was not expected. Lori was lucky to be alive at the end! I expected some of the characters to be involved in the tragedies, but there were a few surprises. Looking back, however, perhaps it should not have been as big of a surprise.

There is a little romance with Lori’s former beau, Marc, but not until the very end because Marc is married to Selena, Lori’s stepsister. That is a complicated situation and considering how Selena is portrayed, I’m surprised that Marc was still married to her.

We give it 3 1/2 paws up.

About the Author

Teresa LaRue grew up in a small town along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. She’s worked as a secretary, assistant manager of an audio book store, and manager of a fashion jewelry store. She is an avid reader, gardener, and movie buff. She lives across the lake from New Orleans with her family, including a dog named Bones, and a cat named Chloe.

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Posted in 3 1/2 paws, Historical, Review, romance on October 22, 2017

Synopsis

When Harriet Beecher marries Calvin Stowe on January 6, 1836, she is sure her future will be filled romance, eventually a family, and continued opportunities to develop as a writer. Her husband Calvin is completely supportive and said she must be a literary woman. Harriet’s sister, Catharine, worries she will lose her identity in marriage, but she is determined to preserve her independent spirit. Deeply religious, she strongly believes God has called her to fulfill the roles of wife and writer and will help her accomplish everything she was born to do.

Two months after her wedding Harriet discovers she is pregnant just as Calvin prepares to leave for a European business trip. Alone, Harriet is overwhelmed-being a wife has been harder than she thought and being an expectant mother feels like living another woman’s life. Knowing that part of Calvin still cherishes the memory of his first wife, Harriet begins to question her place in her husband’s heart and yearns for his return; his letters are no substitute for having him home. When Calvin returns, however, nothing seems to have turned out as planned.

Struggling to balance the demands of motherhood with her passion for writing and her desire to be a part of the social change in Ohio, Harriet works to build a life with her beloved Calvin despite differing temperaments and expectations.

Can their love endure, especially after “I do”? Can she recapture the first blush of new love and find the true beauty in her marriage?

Review

This book gave me a look into the past and what life might have been like for a woman that had more dreams than just being a mother and wife.

While this book is fiction, it is based on a real person, Harriet Beecher Stowe. While I have heard the name and know she wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin, I really didn’t know much about her at all. This authors story, while mostly fiction, does have some truth to it. There is a section at the end of the book that goes chapter by chapter to explain what is true and where she obtained the information. All I can say is a lot of research went into this book!

All that aside, I think I identified with Harriet. I wasn’t meant to be a homemaker. Sure I love to cook, but the cleaning? no thank you! Thankfully men have evolved since the mid 1800’s and don’t always expect women to be the homemaker. But at that time, women had really no rights and not much of a voice.

Calvin is a good man but was set in his beliefs about a family due to how he was raised and his first wife. Not that any of what he learned was wrong, but to fall in love with Harriett when she was the complete opposite, you would think he might adjust his thinking. Over time he did, but it took time and others to help him understand who he married and that she was not his mother or first wife.

I really enjoyed this book especially the last half of the book. I thought that the first half of the book was slow, but it was setting everything up so that the last half would bring all of the situations to a head. I learned something about Harriet and am now curious and want to learn more about this woman who was ahead of her time.

We give it 3 1/2 paws up!

About the Author

Kilpack, Josi-1Josi S. Kilpack hated to read until her mother handed her a copy of The Witch of Blackbird Pond when she was 13. From that day forward, she read everything she could get her hands on and credits her writing “education” to the many novels she has “studied” since then. She began writing her first novel in 1998 and never stopped. Sheep’s Clothing won the Whitney award for Mystery/Suspense in 207 and Wedding Cake, book twelve in the Sadie Hoffmiller Culinary Mystery series won in 2014. Josi was also the Best of State winner in Fiction for 2012. Josi currently lives in Willard, Utah, with her husband, children and super-cute – but not very friendly – cat.

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Posted in 3 1/2 paws, Cozy, Giveaway, mystery, Review on October 18, 2017

Death Overdue: A Haunted Library Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Crooked Lane Books (October 10, 2017)
Hardcover: 336 pages

Synopsis

Carrie Singleton is just about done with Clover Ridge, Connecticut until she’s offered a job as the head of programs and events at the spooky local library, complete with its own librarian ghost. Her first major event is a program presented by a retired homicide detective, Al Buckley, who claims he knows who murdered Laura Foster, a much-loved part-time library aide who was bludgeoned to death fifteen years earlier. As he invites members of the audience to share stories about Laura, he suddenly keels over and dies.

The medical examiner reveals that poison is what did him in and Carrie feels responsible for having surged forward with the program despite pushback from her director. Driven by guilt, Carrie’s determined to discover who murdered the detective, convinced it’s the same man who killed Laura all those years ago. Luckily for Carrie, she has a friendly, knowledgeable ghost by her side. But as she questions the shadows surrounding Laura’s case, disturbing secrets come to light and with each step Carrie takes, she gets closer to ending up like Al.

Now it’s due or die for Carrie in Death Overdue the delightful first in a new cozy series by Allison Brook.

Review

As a book lover, how could I not enjoy a book set in a library?! I did of course. This is a new series set in a small town in CT and Carrie is thinking about leaving town but is offered a job in the library…one of my dream jobs!

The book has some interesting characters and the surface is just scratched on a few including a long time friend and new landlord for Carrie. There is also the library ghost, a former employee, but we don’t know why she is still tied to the library and hasn’t moved on. Interesting that Carrie and a young family member are the only two that can see her. But she comes in handy when Dorothy, the ghost’s niece, gets out of line and information about her is used to bring Dorothy back in line.

There are a couple of mysteries to unravel – a retired police detective, Al, and Laura Foster. Al thinks he knows who killed Laura after all these years, but he is murdered before revealing the truth about Laura’s death all those years ago. The killer has to be someone in the town. Not a lot of clues are revealed to help us solve it until near the end. I am not sure if I suspected this character, but they did act a little suspicious at times.

Overall a good start to a new series and I look forward to the next installment.

We give this 3 1/2 paws

About the Author

Allison Brook is the pseudonym for Marilyn Levinson, who writes mysteries, romantic suspense and novels for kids. She lives on Long Island and enjoys traveling, reading, watching foreign films, doing Sudoku and dining out. She especially loves to visit with her grandchildren on FaceTime.

Website * Amazon Author Page * Facebook * Goodreads * Twitter * Pinterest

 

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October 14 – Babs Book Bistro – REVIEW

October 14 – Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers – SPOTLIGHT

October 14 – A Blue Million Books – INTERVIEW

October 14 – Island Confidential – GUEST POST

October 15 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

October 15 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

October 15 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

October 15 – A Holland Reads – REVIEW

October 16 – The Bookwyrm’s Hoard – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

October 16 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

October 16 – The Ninja Librarian – REVIEW

October 16 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW, GUEST POST

October 17 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

October 17 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW

October 17 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

October 17 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

October 18 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW

October 18 – Varietats – REVIEW, GUEST POST

October 18 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – REVIEW

October 18 – Read Your Writes Book Reviews – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

October 18 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

October 19 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

October 19 – Bea’s Book Nook – REVIEW

October 19 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW,

October 20 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW

October 20 – Melissa’s Eclectic Bookshelf – REVIEW

October 20 – A Cozy Experience – REVIEW

October 20 – That’s What She’s Reading – GUEST POST

Posted in 3 1/2 paws, Cozy, Giveaway, Monday, mystery on September 25, 2017

Gone with the Wings (Meera Patel Cozy Mystery Series)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Self Published
Publication Date: June 3, 2017
Paperback: 269 pages

Synopsis

Author Leena Clover announces a brand new cozy mystery series set in a small Oklahoma college town. Mystery readers will enjoy this culinary cozy murder mystery featuring plenty of yummy recipes like Masala Fried Chicken and Shish Kabob Blue Plate Special.

Meera Patel is back home with the family after she dropped out of graduate school. Now she shelves books for a living and rustles up fusion recipes at Sylvie’s Cafe & Diner. Everything is fine until her old nemesis Prudence Walker floats up in the local pond. Meera is accused of murder! Well, she did publicly declare Prudence would drop dead.

Meera cries foul and screams police harassment. But she has no defense when she is accused of a second crime. Flanked by pals Tony and Becky, Meera puts in the leg work, trying to solve clues and discard red herrings.

Fall in Oklahoma has never been more exciting.

Cozy mystery fans will love this new mystery series featuring an Asian American amateur sleuth. There is a full cast of characters with a professor father, young sibling, old grandparents, loyal friends and a candid glimpse into South Asian culture.

Review

There was a lot to like for this first book in this series. What i liked about it was that it was set in OK in a small college community town and where there seems to be a large Indian (Asian not Native American) population. The family is close knit and they are always eating…that may sound strange but I love food and all of the dishes that were described in the book sounded delicious. I also liked that the murder was solved in a roundabout way and really wasn’t the main focus, or it doesn’t appear to be the main focus most of the time.

There are some unknowns that might be addressed more in future books, such as, why did Meera drop out of school to work at the local college library? What happened to Meera’s mom all those years ago in the tornado? (side note, I think there might be some foreshadowing happening in this book at the end that might address that in future books).

I do think at times the writing seemed choppy and some words were used that didn’t seem right such as calling a car trunk a boot. That is the British word and Meera is American so would have used the word trunk unless her family always called it a boot and she picked it up that way.

This series has great potential and I look forward to reading them at some point.  We give it 3 1/2 paws.

About the Author

Leena Clover is the author of the brand new Meera Patel Cozy Mystery Series, starring a 20 something Desi girl as the protagonist. The series is set in a small Oklahoma college town Meera calls home.

Leena Clover offers plenty of clues for her readers so that they can solve the mystery as they read along. Readers can expect a unique look into Indian/ South Asian culture and plenty of yummy recipes.

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September 18 – Student of Opinions – REVIEW

September 19 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW

September 19 – Readsalot – GUEST POST

September 20 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

September 20 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW

September 21 – Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting – REVIEW

September 21 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT

September 22 – Cozy Up With Kathy – INTERVIEW

September 22 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 23 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

September 23 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT

September 24 – Island Confidential – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

September 25 – Book Babble – REVIEW

September 25 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

September 26 – Laura’s Interests – SPOTLIGHT

September 26 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST

September 27 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW

September 27 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT

Posted in 3 1/2 paws, excerpt, Review, romance on September 1, 2017

Synopsis

Welcome to the small island town of Cloud Bay, where it’s never the wrong time to find a love that’s oh-so-right. . .

Caleb White knows what he wants out of life—and being a star tennis player is not it. After speaking to the press about his plans to retire, Caleb decides that a trip to quaint, beautiful Cloud Bay for its legendary music festival is exactly what he needs. There will be time to figure out what to do with his life without a racket in his hand soon enough. Until then, Caleb is content to be stuck on an island with CloudFest’s gorgeous director Faith Harper. . .

The daughter of a famous rock star, Faith knows all about fame, fortune, and hot flings that aren’t meant to last longer than a few good songs. Gorgeous, built Caleb is a temptation she can’t resist, but she’s not prepared for the way he makes her feel. . .and the dreams that they both share. What begins as a carefree distraction deepens into something real. But is Caleb ready to put his celebrity behind him and give life in the slow lane with Faith a chance?

Amazon * B&N * iBooks * Kobo * Books A Million

Excerpt

So maybe that was the wrong thing to think about.

She steered the car through the familiar bends of the road from Salt Devil to Danny’s place, not needing to really pay much attention to what she was doing. She could make the drive with a bag over her head. Could probably drive all around Lansing that way and never miss a beat.

Unlike her heart, which was bumping just that little bit too quickly to let her fool herself into thinking she didn’t have a rapidly developing case of, to quote Ivy, “flaming panties,” when it came to Caleb White.

Well, her panties were just going to have to cool it a little longer.

She let her left hand drift out the open window, fingers spread to catch the night air rushing against her skin so one part of her body had a chance to feel cool. “My mom would tell you that’s a terrible habit,” Caleb said. His voice sounded lower in the darkness.

Rumblier.

Sexier.

Engine vibrations. That was it. Blame it on the roar of whatever supercharged monster engine Will had put into the Mustang. That was what was making his voice sound so good.

Note to self: Drive the Prius if you ever have to share a car with this man again.

“I know this road. There’s nothing I could possibly catch my hand on.” She turned her head slightly to look at him for a second. He’d lowered his window too, his elbow resting on the window frame, his fingers gripped around the top. “And hello, pot, kettle, black. You do not have all limbs inside the vehicle, Mr. White.”

“My hand isn’t sticking out,” he said.

“And what would your mom say about that response?” “She’d tell me not to be a smart-ass.”

“I think I like your mom. What does she do?” “She’s a doctor. I think she’d like you too.”

Faith shook her head. Nope to him getting any kind of wrong idea. “I’m not really the kind of girl mothers approve of.”

“Why not?”

“Rock star dad. Tattoos. Not interested in settling down.”

“You have tattoos?” he said, sounding intrigued. “I hadn’t noticed.”

“That’s because so far you haven’t seen any parts of me where they’re noticeable.”

“I see.” He sounded even more intrigued. “But they’re somewhere a mom might see them?”

“I think it’s more the alcoholic-rock-star–womanizing- dad thing than the tattoos. My family’s reputation precedes me. They think I’m going to have my wicked way with their precious boys and break their hearts.”

“Are you meeting these moms via time travel? That all sounds very nineteen fifties to me,” he said. “And just so you know, I am on board with wicked ways.”

She laughed at that. “In my experience, most men are.” “Maybe the men you meet are smarter than their moms.”

“Oh no.” She pulled her hand back in the window as the approached the turn-off to Danny’s drive. “The moms have my number. I’m not the marrying kind, as they used to say.”

“Really?” He sounded skeptical. “Trust me.”

“I take it this is you telling me that if I ever get to sample your wicked ways, I should beware?”

She tried to ignore the way the rumble underscoring “wicked ways” made her want to invent some very wicked ways on the spot. Dammit. “Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.” She pulled into the drive, rolled the car to a stop outside the gate. “And, not to change the subject or anything, but we’re here.”

Caleb blinked. “So I see. Any point in me asking you in for a nightcap?”

As much as part of her wanted to say “hell yes,” she shook her head. “Not tonight.”

“Rain check on that too?” “We’ll see.”

Review

I have to say I liked Faith and Caleb. Both strong characters but with their own sets of baggage and insecurities. Faith doesn’t seem to trust many men (possible some bad relationships have tainted her) and Caleb was a workaholic while on the tennis circuit – which is to be expected since you can’t be out partying all the time and expect to play your best.

I liked how Faith ran Cloudfest – a music festival on their island off of California. It sounds like a lot of fun and considering her father was a famous musician, it isn’t too surprising. It does take quite some time to figure out why Faith isn’t a musician because it seems like she has the talent. Maybe she doesn’t want the spotlight as much as her brother seems to crave it.

Overall a fun read. I give this 3 1/2 stars. Enjoyable romance with a somewhat higher heat level than I was expecting (not that it is bad, just wasn’t expecting so much descriptive sex scenes).

About the Author

Emma Douglas would love to live in a world where professional napping was a thing. But until then, she thinks writing books is a pretty awesome alternative. When not writing about imaginary people, she can be found reading, doing something crafty, binge-watching TV, playing her latest song crush on repeat, or singing badly in her car. She lives in Melbourne, Australia in a tiny house stuffed full of books, too many craft supplies and two cats who take up more space than you would expect. Find out more about Emma at www.emmadouglasbooks.com.

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Posted in 3 1/2 paws, Cozy, mystery, Review on August 2, 2017

Synopsis

Gertrude has been called a lot of things: a hoarder, an odd duck, and a crazy cat lady—but she’s never been called a gumshoe. Until now. When her neighbor goes missing, she can’t help but get involved, no matter how many people ask her not to.

Review

A shorter book but quite a quirky main character. Gertrude doesn’t seem to be the brightest bulb but manages to solve who murdered her neighbor…but not without putting herself in danger!

I like that Gertrude, while I don’t think she is a senior citizen, is older and uses a walker. This does make it little harder for her to get around. At one point she decides to climb a lattice trellis. I really don’t know what was going through her brain that she could do that if she has issues walking without a walker! But it just adds to the humor of the book.

This will be a funny cozy series for sure.  We give it 3 1/2 paws

About the Author

Robin Merrill is an award-winning writer and performance poet from rural central Maine where she lives with her husband, their two children, and several furry friends. She is the author of several books, and her individual poems, essays, and short stories have appeared in hundreds of publications.

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Posted in 3 1/2 paws, Book Release, Review, suspense on July 26, 2017

Synopsis

The text message is just three words: I need you.

Isa drops everything, takes her baby daughter and heads straight to Salten. She spent the most significant days of her life at boarding school on the marshes there, days which still cast their shadow over her now.

Something terrible has been found on the beach. Something which will force Isa to confront her past, together with the three best friends she hasn’t seen for years, but has never forgotten. Theirs is no cosy reunion: Salten isn’t a safe place for them, after what they did.

At school the girls used to play the Lying Game. They competed to convince people of the most outrageous stories. But for some, did the boundary between fact and fantasy become too blurred?

And how much can you really trust your friends?

Review

Friendships formed out of necessity is what these four women have together. Kate, Thea, Fatima and Isa met in boarding school and something clicked for them. Perhaps because they were all a bit wild and also have home lives that were not quite traditional. They were a force to be reckoned with on campus only because of their game – The Lying Game. It was more of a challenge to see who could embellish a story the most and get away with it. Little did they know that 15+ years later it might come back to haunt them.

This book is engaging and had me wondering what secret the women were hiding. The first half of the book leads up to what the 4 women did during their time at boarding school that caused them to scatter across the country. Then the last half shares how they plan to handle the revelation and the impact it will have on their lives. But in the revelation more details are learned and perhaps it wasn’t quite what they thought when they were 15. There is a bit of a mystery as to who was involved in this situation and when all is explained, how it impacted their lives going forward.

The copy of the book I had (from Netgalley) didn’t have any formal chapters. There were 4 sections. Thankfully there were larger gaps where I could stop. I guess those were supposed to be chapters but without making them a chapter. The story fluctuates between the past and the present and I felt like the author did a good job with the story flow.

The book is set in England and the differences in the English language always make me chuckle…only because some words are used in different contexts than what I am used to hearing.

There are quite a few f* bombs and I do wish authors would learn some new words to express frustration or whatever emotion they are trying to express and stop using the same word over and over again. Not sure when we became such a crude world.

We give it 3 1/2 paws

About the Author

Ruth Ware grew up in Sussex, on the south coast of England. After graduating from Manchester University she moved to Paris, before settling in North London. She has worked as a waitress, a bookseller, a teacher of English as a foreign language and a press officer. She is married with two small children, and In a Dark, Dark Wood is her début thriller.

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Posted in 3 1/2 paws, Giveaway, Review, suspense on June 11, 2017

No Turning Back: A Novel
Women Sleuths/Suspense Thriller
Crooked Lane Books (June 13, 2017)
Hardcover: 352 pages

Synopsis

You’d kill to protect your child – wouldn’t you?

Anna Graves’s whole life has recently been turned upside down. A new mother, she’s just gone back to her job as a radio presenter and is busy navigating a new schedule of late night feeding and early morning wake ups while also dealing with her newly separated husband. Then the worst happens. While Anna is walking on the beach with her daughter, she’s attacked by a crazed teenager. Terrified, Anna reacts instinctively to protect her baby.

But her life falls apart when the schoolboy dies from his injuries. The police believe Anna’s story, until the autopsy results reveal something more sinister. A frenzied media attack sends Anna into a spiral of self-doubt. Her precarious mental state is further threatened when she receives a chilling message from someone claiming to be the “Ophelia Killer,” a serial killer who preyed on the town twenty years ago—and who abruptly stopped when Anna’s father committed suicide.

Is Anna as innocent as she claims? And is murder forgivable, if committed to save your child’s life?

Internationally bestselling author Tracy Buchanan takes readers on an emotional roller coaster ride filled with heart-stopping secrets and hairpin turns in No Turning Back, her US debut.

Amazon B&N * IndieBound

Review

The first line of the synopsis really sets the reader up for this book – “You’d kill to protect your child – wouldn’t you?”. I think most people would said that yes they would to protect a child, spouse, etc if the situation warranted that drastic of an action. But how would you feel and act and react in the months following? Probably a lot like our main character Anna. She feels guilty about the situation and honestly didn’t mean to kill the teen that appeared to be attacking them and acting crazy. How was she to know that there was more to the situation than meets the eye?

What follows in the rest of the book is Anna dealing with her guilt, trying to figure out why the teen was crazy, trying to protect her child, and investigating these deaths and are were the deaths perpetrated by The Ophelia Killer (TOK) from 20 years ago that her father was investigating for an article?

The first 2/3 of the book fill in a lot of details and history is explained somewhat of the TOK but to me were a bit slow. Plus most of the chapters were really really long (personal preference is to stop at a chapter and was sometimes hard in this book). I also didn’t understand how a comb could kill a person even if they fell on it because that would have to be a lot of force for a comb to penetrate the skin (assuming plastic comb vs metal).

There are many characters to not like and a few red herrings mixed in to get you thinking that someone was behind all this that wasn’t really. I felt for Anna because of all the negative press she was receiving and how everyone painted her in a bad light and made assumptions that just weren’t true. Most of that was tied to the media and the stories they reported. Not too surprising considering what we see in the media today.

I’d probably give this 3 1/2 stars. I was originally give it 3 stars but it really picked up near the end and was not expecting the twist at the end!

About the Author

Tracy Buchanan lives in the UK with her husband, their little girl and their one-eyed Jack Russell. Buchanan traveled extensively while working as a travel magazine editor and has always been drawn to the sea after spending her childhood holidays on the coast visiting family–a fascination that inspires her writing. She now dedicates her time to writing and procrastinating on Twitter.

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June 5 – Books Direct  – INTERVIEW

June 5 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

June 6 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW

June 6 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

June 7 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – REVIEW

June 7 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

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Posted in 3 1/2 paws, Review, Short Story on May 30, 2017

Synopsis

This collection is comprised of three short stories.

The Move : Guillaume, who gives up everything to protect his child
The Listener : Mathew, who risks his life to save his home
The Sacrifice : François, who makes the biggest donation to rescue his grandson

Review

This was an interesting set of short stories.  I’m going to give a mini review of each story.  Each story is set in France and I enjoyed the descriptions of the towns that each story takes place.  The three stories touch on life, death, conservation, and other topics that make you think.

The Move showed me a father’s devotion but the story is also a little dark.  Guillaume has a dairy farm (or what we might consider a dairy farm) and sells his milk to a co-op.  Well things aren’t going well and this leads to the downfall of his farm.  Guillaume’s son is his world and he is trying to provide him with a good life, but things spin out of his control.  There is a part near the end that involves their dog and I think it is the silver lining in this whole story.  This was probably my least favorite of the three.

The Listener is a story about one boy’s quest to save a tree he considers to be his in the forest.  It gives him shelter and calms him down when things aren’t going well.  However, the entity that manages the forest is losing money and is cutting down trees to sell the wood for furniture etc.  The Director that runs this entity is a real jerk but he gets what is coming to him in the end.  I think it is a good story that shows we need to watch out for nature and not cut down every tree or get rid of nature because it really does give back to us in the form of oxygen.  An interesting part of the story is a place called the Children’s Center where apparently parents can leave children while they go on vacation.  I don’t know if it is like an extended day care or what, but thought it was interesting.

The Sacrifice is the story of what a grandfather will do for his grandson despite all odds.  Both Francois and Arthur bring out the best in each other and are probably each other’s biggest cheerleaders.  Both had had some challenges in life regarding Arthur’s mother/Francois’ daughter and her mental health issues.  This was probably my favorite story because it seemed more real to me or maybe I could just relate better to the characters.

Enjoyable and a little bit of a lesson in each story that makes you think and how you would handle things if you were in their situation.  My only negative is that the writing seemed choppy in the first two stories.  I don’t know if the book was translated from one language to another and that is the reason for the stilted writing/flow of the stories.

Overall we give it 3 1/2 paws up.

About the Author

Indrajit Garai, an American citizen now, was born in India in 1965. After his Bachelors degree from Indian Institute of Technology and Masters from Harvard, he worked as a Corporate Strategy Consultant and as an Investment Banker in America, Spain, and England, while studying parallelly Ayurveda (ancient medicine of India) and clinical yoga, for stress management. In 2001, after the birth of his daughter, he moved to Paris and opened his private practice of stress management.

Currently, he has taken sabbatical from his practice of stress management, as a full-time writer, to work on his fiction and nonfiction.

Website

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