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Blog Tour: Hush Little Girl

Synopsis

Dressed in pajamas covered with stars, the little girl’s body is perfectly still, her arms folded neatly over her chest. The wildflowers decorating her hair scatter across the grass in the sharp breeze. Her lips are parted slightly, as if to whisper goodnight for the very last time…

When twelve-year-old Holly Mitchell’s fragile little body is found on the steps of a mountainside church in the small town of Denton, a doll made from pine cones clasped tightly to her chest, Detective Josie Quinn rushes to attend the scene. She knows this little girl’s angelic face, her mother had offered Josie help when she’d needed it most.

Searching the girl’s house, Josie is devastated to find that Holly’s mother is dead too, and her little sister is missing. But why has this family home been stripped of all sharp objects? Re-tracing her steps, Josie finally finds a secret hiding place with Holly’s sister inside, terrified, but alive. Moments later, another doll made of twigs turns up.

Certain the killer is close by, Josie holds the little girl tight and tries to coax answers from her, but it’s clear the pile of burnt photographs and letters found in the greenhouse is her only lead. No one is safe until Josie can figure out the dangerous secret that has escaped this remote family home.

Just when Josie is finally closing in on the killer, the unthinkable happens, a tragedy that shakes her to her very core. And on the windshield of her car: a third wooden doll. Could stopping this twisted monster from taking more innocent lives come at the ultimate price for Josie?

An absolutely gripping rollercoaster ride of a crime thriller from an Amazon, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. Perfect for fans of Angela Marsons, Robert Dugoni and Rachel Caine.


My Review

The big day has finally arrived! Everyone who is near and dear to Josie and Noah are there. But just when you think Josie will finally ride off into the sunset with her beau, a young girl’s body is found on the steps of the church. Of course, Josie and Noah are on the case.

When Josie and another detective arrive at the girl’s home they discover a gruesome scene. Her mother has been slaughtered and her younger sister is missing. What secrets did this family have that were worth dying for? Can Josie get the answers from little Emily before tragedy strikes again? Josie is able to bond with the young girl. Her scar bears witness to her tragedies in life. But she struggles with how far can she push her for details without damages her already fragile psyche. Scared and alone, little Emily feels that revealing any secret will lead to death.

Hush, Little Girl is a fast-paced if emotional ride that pulls on your heart strings. (Trigger warning for mental illness and domestic violence.)

I am really loving this series. Lisa Regan keeps you on your toes and begging for more. Here’s a secret I can share: Josie Quinn #12 is already in the works! Join Lisa Regan’s mailing list here so you won’t miss out.


Meet the Author

Lisa Regan is a USA TodayWall Street Journal bestselling author and Amazon bestselling crime novelist.  She has a bachelor’s degree in English and Master of Education Degree from Bloomsburg University.  She is a member of Sisters In Crime, Mystery Writers of America and International Thriller Writers. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and daughter. 

Where You Can Find Lisa

Stop by and Visit These Other Wonderful Creators on the Hush, Little Girl Blog Tour!

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Blog Tour: Just My Luck

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Synopsis

Adele Parks has brought her #1 Sunday Times sensation, JUST MY LUCK (MIRA Trade Paperback; April 6, 2021; $17.99) to the US! 

Be careful what you wish for… 

After spending happy hours, parenting classes and barbeques together for the last 15 years, Lexi and Jake Greenwood have celebrated and shared almost everything with the Pearsons and the Heathcotes, including their lottery numbers. Then one night, the unthinkable happens. Someone has been telling lies – lies dark enough to burn bridges and tear the tight group of friends apart. When the Greenwoods win a stunning $23 million in the lottery with their group’s numbers shortly after their dramatic falling out, the Heathcotes and Pearsons believe they’re entitled to part of the prize… and the three couples will do anything to claim what is theirs. 

Reader beware: the last chapter will change everything. 

A compulsively readable portrait of the fragility of friendship, the corrosiveness of sudden wealth, and the dark side of good luck, Adele Parks’ latest domestic thriller will make you think twice about trying your hand at the lottery. 


Review

When I first started reading this book I thought it was just going to be a Contemporary fiction about winning the lottery and how it impacts people. How do you change when you have money; a lens on greed, selfishness and the chaos that would ensue around a lottery win.

In Just My Luck you have these three couples who have been friends for 15 years. They met in Lamaze class and stuck together through Mommy and Me. Now their kids are also best friends. But then there is a fallout at one of their weekly parties which causes a rift between the parents. A week later Lexie playing their usual numbers strikes it big with a winning lottery ticket.

Lexi and her husband Jake’s responses are like fire and ice. Lexi tries to be calm, modest and responsible. Jake hits the ground running. Bubbling over with excitement and lofty ideas he comes up with extravagant ways to splurge. His indiscretions quickly lead the family down the path to ruin but read like delicious bits of drama as all kinds of hell breaks loose.

This book has also been billed as a mystery/thriller. However, the “mystery” here does not start until about 70% through. For me the mystery portion was just tacked on and not thoroughly fleshed out. Kind of quick, fast and loose. I also found that the mystery was easily solved. So if you are looking for a case to solve this may not be for you. But as a contemporary novel Just My Luck shines and is engrossing and compelling. Would recommend to readers of domestic suspense and drama.


Meet the Author

Adele Parks is the #1 Sunday Times bestselling author of twenty novels, including Lies Lies Lies and Just My Luck, as well as I Invited Her InJust My Luck is currently in development to be made into a movie. Her novels have sold 4 million copies in the UK alone, and her work has also been translated into thirty-one languages.

Where You Can Find Her

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Blog Tour: A Beautiful Breed of Evil

Available for Free on Kindle Unlimited!

Thank you Emma Welton @damppebbles for organizing this tour and finding a space for me!

Synopsis

He’ll never speak of the evil they did…

A former Swedish ambassador lies dead in his swanky Mayfair flat. With his tongue torn out and placed on a Bible. Competing theories swirl. A religious maniac? A psychopath? The truth is far darker than either. DCI Stella Cole’s search for the killer takes her to Sweden. There, she discovers a horrific chapter in the country’s history that throws the case into turmoil. And then more people start dying.


Teaming up with Swedish cops Oskar Norgrim and Johanna Carlsson, Stella pieces together Ambassador Brömly’s shocking past. And discovers the killer’s motive.

Meanwhile, Stella’s personal life is about to take a significant turn as her boyfriend, Jamie, suggests a change in their relationship. But as Stella tries to process what it means, she makes a fateful decision.


Why won’t the dead stay buried?

On the other side of the Atlantic, a kid practising BMX stunts over water finds a skeleton on a lake bed. When the victim is revealed to be a British cop, the FBI ask for assistance. Stella’s arch-enemy from her own department gets the case. She flies to Chicago and soon discovers the murderer’s identity.

The scene is set for a showdown in Sweden as DI Roisin Griffin pursues her vendetta against Stella all the way to the north of Sweden during the annual festival of Midsommar.


A fast-paced, twisty crime thriller …

A Beautiful Breed of Evil is the fifth book in this series of hard-hitting crime thrillers. Much of the action takes place in Sweden, home to fictional detectives Martin Beck, Kurt Wallander, Harry Hole and Saga Norén.

Even as Stella is fighting to bring the killer to justice, shadowy figures from her past are planning to silence her before she can expose their brutal methods.


Review

A Beautiful Breed of Evil is the 5th in the DI Stella Cole series but my first. It takes off pretty quickly with the discovery of three bodies in the first two chapters. The action takes place in the UK, Sweden and the United States so readers are jet-setting around the world in this transcontinental chase.*

DI Stella Cole is looking into the murder of a man who everyone claims is a saint. But what gets her is the mutilation of the body. Why rip out his tongue? And why place it on a Bible? What is the killer trying to tell her? What sins or secrets does the good Ambassador have in his closet? Is it a warning for others to be quiet? Or a sensual thing? Could the killer be a jilted lover or a victim of past sexual assault?

The first thing that struck me as odd was that in the UK the police do not have guns. As the manner of death was by gunshot wound it makes Stella’s job easier. As less people carry guns it will be easier to track down the murder weapon. Another factor that made this book all the more interesting is that Stella herself is not innocent. Her hands have blood on them and her past is bearing down on her. As a newcomer to the series I do not know how much of this was revealed in earlier books but I found that I enjoyed trying to unlock the mystery of Stella. Maslen does not spoon feed the reader either. Bit by bit over a few chapters he peels back the layers revealing one truth at a time. I think this made the book more intriguing as it gave me the opportunity to put the puzzle pieces together.

Although Stella is flawed she does have her own moral code that she follows. So yeah there is right and wrong but can you justify her actions? I think you can and this is what becomes the hardest for people in her life to reconcile themselves with. Especially when they can see themselves doing the same thing if they were put in her shoes. Stella is strong and smart but she still shows vulnerability. She’s still dealing with trauma and psychoses. Perhaps PTSD and dissociative disorder? Maslen does not make this the focus but his descriptions make her character more human and relatable.

Overall I really enjoyed reading the book. The twist in the middle really got me. I thought I had it all figured out. But Maslen saves the best for last, especially with that little teaser at the end. Looking forward to completing the rest of the series and getting to know Stella better. Highly recommend.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Meet Andy Maslen

Andy Maslen was born in Nottingham, in the UK, home of legendary bowman Robin Hood. Andy once won a medal for archery, although he has never been locked up by the sheriff.

He has worked in a record shop, as a barman, as a door-to-door DIY products salesman and a cook in an Italian restaurant.

He lives in Wiltshire with his wife, two sons and a whippet named Merlin.

Where You Can Find Andy


Stop by and visit these other blogs on the tour!

*For those of you doing the 2021 PopSugar Challenge this qualifies for Prompt 29.

Featured

Blog Tour: Libertie

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Synopsis

The critically acclaimed and Whiting Award–winning author of We Love You, Charlie Freeman returns with an unforgettable story about the meaning of freedom.

Coming of age as a free-born Black girl in Reconstruction-era Brooklyn, Libertie Sampson was all too aware that her purposeful mother, a practicing physician, had a vision for their future together: Libertie would go to medical school and practice alongside her. But Libertie, drawn more to music than science, feels stifled by her mother’s choices and is hungry for something else—is there really only one way to have an autonomous life? And she is constantly reminded that, unlike her mother, who can pass, Libertie has skin that is too dark.

When a young man from Haiti proposes to Libertie and promises she will be his equal on the island, she accepts, only to discover that she is still subordinate to him and all men. As she tries to parse what freedom actually means for a Black woman, Libertie struggles with where she might find it—for herself and for generations to come.

Inspired by the life of one of the first Black female doctors in the United States and rich with historical detail, Kaitlyn Greenidge’s new novel resonates in our times and is perfect for readers of Brit Bennett, Min Jin Lee, and Yaa Gyasi.


Review

Libertie is an historical fiction set in the late 1800s. Our titular character is named for her dying father’s wish for her to know true freedom. But Libertie, although intelligent, well spoken, and beautiful will struggle to be released from society’s strongholds. In the book her mother’s character is loosely based on Susan McKinney Steward, the first black doctor in New York state. Although this bit of history is interesting, Libertie is not focused so much on the mother’s accomplishments but on the relationship between mother and daughter. Throughout the book we are asked to consider what freedom is in all its nuances and to examine the chains that hold us captive.

Susan McKinney-Steward

The book opens with Dr. Sampson raising a man from the dead. Libertie stands in awe of her mother and begs her to teach her how to heal. But she soon realizes that this man — although he escaped the shackles of slavery and the grip of death — he is not free. His undying devotion to a dead woman leaves him haunted by her memory and Libertie skeptical about love.

Libertie’s mother is able to get her medical degree as she passes for white. But she knows this option is not open to her dark skinned daughter. She goes about trying to find a way to ensure her daughter’s agency in a new unsure landscape where freedom has just been won for the slave. But in her doing so, she ends up thrusting her aspirations upon Libertie.

Despite her status and fair skin our doctor is still bound by other women’s perception of her, their judgment and their fickle natures. She is confined by grief over the loss of her husband and family and fear for the safety of her daughter. Her tongue is tied every time a white patient shuns Libertie or remarks on her color.

When Libertie travels to Haiti we are able to see the contrast between the two countries. Haiti gains its independence early on and is under the rule of black people. But there still exists a separation between those that serve and those that are in authority.

Through these experiences Libertie comes to know that freedom is not just escaping that which binds you, but knowing who you are, what you want and finding the voice to proclaim it boldly.


Kaitlyn Greenidge

Kaitlyn Greenidge’s debut novel is We Love You, Charlie Freeman (Algonquin Books), one of the New York Times Critics’ Top 10 Books of 2016. Her writing has appeared in the Vogue, Glamour, the Wall Street Journal, Elle.com, Buzzfeed, Transition Magazine, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Believer, American Short Fiction and other places. She is the recipient of fellowships from the Whiting Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study other places. She was a contributing editor for LENNY Letter and is currently a contributing writer for The New York Times. Her second novel, Libertie, will be published by Algonquin Books on March 30, 2021. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Featured

Blog Tour: Tell No Lies

On Sale tomorrow 3/30/21!

Praise for Allison Brennan’s Quinn & Costa Series

“Leave all the lights on… you’ll be turning the pages fast as you can. The Third to Die is the first in Brennan’s amazing new thriller series. Dive in and enjoy this nail-biter.”—Catherine Coulter, New York Times bestselling author of Labyrinth

“Bestseller Brennan’s intriguing sequel to 2020s The Third to Die…Fast-paced action….[with a] well-constructed mystery plot.”
Publishers Weekly

“An edge of the seat, can’t-put-it-down thrill ride.”Marcia Clark, author of Snap Judgment

“Riveting, terrifying, and simply fantastic. Brennan ratchets up the tension to the breaking point with her new FBI MRT team chasing a devious killer. This is classic crime fiction at its best. With deep characterizations and a truly scary villain driving the twisted plot, this is the start of a brilliant new series from the queen of the thriller.” —J.T. Ellison, New York Times bestselling author of Tear Me Apart


Synopsis

New York Times bestselling author Allison Brennan’s newest thriller again features an edgy young female LAPD detective and an ambitious special agent, both part of a mobile FBI unit that is brought in to investigate the unsolved murder of a college activist and its alleged ties to high stakes crime in the desert Southwest.

Something mysterious is killing the wildlife in the desert hills just south of Tucson, Arizona. When Emma Perez, a college-intern-turned activist, sets out to collect her own evidence, she too ends up dead. Local law enforcement seems slow to get involved. That’s when the mobile FBI unit goes undercover to infiltrate the town and the copper refinery located there in search of possible leads. Costa and Quinn find themselves scouring the desolate landscape that keeps on giving up clues to something much darker—greed, child trafficking, other killings. As the body count continues to add up, it’s clear they have stumbled on more than they bargained for. Now they must figure out who is at the heart of this mayhem and stop them before more innocent lives are lost.

Brennan’s latest novel brims with complex characters and an ever-twisting plotline, a compelling thriller that delivers.


Meet Allison Brennan

ALLISON BRENNAN is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of over thirty novels. She has been nominated for Best Paperback Original Thriller by International Thriller Writers and the Daphne du Maurier Award. A former consultant in the California State Legislature, Allison lives in Arizona with her husband, five kids and assorted pets.

Interview With Allison Brennan

Q: How much research do you do before beginning to write a book? Do you go to locations, ride with police, go to see an autopsy, etc.

A: Research is one of my favorite parts of writing. Because I’ve been writing for more than a decade, I’ve been doing research for just as long. I’ve been to most locations I’ve written about, though sometimes long ago (and I rely on Google Earth, books, and friends to keep me up to date about changes.) I’ve gone on ride-alongs with law enforcement, I’ve been to the morgue twice and observed not only an autopsy, but have talked to technicians and toured the crypt.

I also went through the FBI Citizens Academy in 2008, when I was in the middle of writing my 8th book. After that, I had multiple agents to call upon for help with details; I toured Quantico twice, the national FBI Headquarters, interviewed both senior and brand new agents about their different experiences in the academy and on the job, and participated in numerous SWAT training drills as a “role player.” What does that mean? I’ve played the part of the bad guy, a hostage, and a victim based on the scenario they were training for. I’ve observed dozens of different scenarios as they drill them, including high-risk traffic stops. I once observed a live ammunition drill from the catwalk, which was both scary and exhilarating. 

I recognize that I can’t put everything I learn into my books, and that because I write fiction sometimes reality is too slow and I need to speed things up (trust me, you don’t want to watch my characters doing paperwork!) But I try to write my books to be as realistic as possible.

Q: What’s your favorite part of writing suspense?

A: Everything! I love suspense. I read it as a child (Trixie Belden, Nancy Drew, Agatha Christie, Stephen King) and I read it now. I love romantic suspense (I’m a sucker for happy endings); police procedurals; and race-against-time thrillers. When I’m writing, my absolute favorite part is when everything comes together near the end and I have that “AHA!” moment. It’s exhilarating and worth every struggle along the way. 

I’d also have to say that suspense is part of every story. If there’s no suspense, it’s a boring character study. I want to have that physical reaction in my story — the sense of impending doom and “OMG, how are they going to get out of this?” — and if I get it while writing, my readers will feel it when reading.

Q: From the books you’ve written or read, who has been your favorite villain and why?

A: The Man in Black, Randall Flagg, is one of the most compelling and scary villains I’ve read, created by the master Stephen King in THE STAND (though Flagg has also shown up in other books.) Favorite? Maybe not. But definitely the villain that stuck with me for the rest of my life. In my books, I’ve created a couple of villains who I’ve actually sympathized with (while condemning their crimes) because their backstories are so tragic — such as in TEMPTING EVIL. My favorite villain to write was Elise Hansen Hunt who popped up in several books, including the recent COLD AS ICE. She is young, reckless, violent, and I never knew what she might do. I’ve written several serial killers, who are always scary because you never quite know what’s going to happen with them. For example, in the first Quinn & Costa book, the killer was so focused and determined I worried he would outwit my good guys. 

Villains should be both believable and realistic, so sometimes the most compelling are those who you can almost sympathize with, or at least understand, even when you are horrified by their crimes.

Q: What hobbies do you enjoy?

A: Reading (duh!), baseball (go Giants!), television (too many shows to list), hiking (except during the Arizona summer), shooting at the gun range (my daughter is a cop and great instructor), video games (with my boys — at least that’s my excuse.) A little known fact about me … for years I used to make my own soap. It was fun, relaxing, and always made the house smell amazing. 

Q: Do you write under one name for all books across genres or do you have other AKA’s?

A: Just me! Allison Brennan is my legal name. In fact, I once told my husband if he ever left, I was keeping the name. Ha. 

Funny story — I bought my website domain allisonbrennan.com right after I sold my first book. This was 2004. I wanted to make sure I had it when I had books to put up there. A year later I got an email from someone named Allison Brennan. She tried to buy the site but couldn’t — she was also a writer (a journalist) and wanted to know how I picked the name and if she could buy it from me. Small world! (There’s also an Allison Brennan who is a Olympic diver, an Allison Brennan who is a gymnast, and an Allison Brennan who lived in my town — we used the same pharmacy, the same vet, went to the same church, and both had sons named Luke. Yet we never met!)

Where You Can Find Allison Brennan

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Blog Tour: Danger in Numbers

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Synopsis

On the edge of the Everglades, an eerie crime scene sets off an investigation that sends two agents deep into a world of corrupted faith, greed and deadly secrets.

A ritualistic murder on the side of a remote road brings in the Florida state police. Special Agent Amy Larson has never seen worse, and there are indications that this killing could be just the beginning. The crime draws the attention of the FBI in the form of Special Agent Hunter Forrest, a man with insider knowledge of how violent cults operate, and a man who might never be able to escape his own past.

The rural community is devastated by the death in their midst, but people know more than they are saying. As Amy and Hunter join forces, every lead takes them further into the twisted beliefs of a dangerous group that will stop at nothing to see their will done.

Doomsday preppers and small-town secrets collide in this sultry, twisty page-turning thriller.


Excerpt

PROLOGUE

Fall 1993

Sam

Sam Gallagher stood in the forest, deep within the trees, holding his wife and son to him as closely as he could, barely daring to breathe.

They would know by now. He and Jessie would be missed. He could imagine the scene: Jessie wouldn’t have appeared bright and early to help prepare the day’s meal with the other women. He wouldn’t be there to consume the porridge and water that was considered the ultimate meal for the workday—the porridge because it was a hearty meal, the water because it was ordained as the gift of life.

Their absence would be reported to Brother William, sitting his office—his throne room, Sam thought—where he would be guarded by his closest associates, the deacons of his church.

The family had only been in woods for a few minutes, but it seemed like an eternity. Jessie was so still Sam couldn’t hear her breathing, just feel the tremor of her heart.

Cameron was just six. And yet he knew the severity and danger of his situation. He stood as still and silent as any man could hope a child might be.

Panic seized Sam briefly.

What if Special Agent Dawson didn’t come? What if there had been a mix-up and he hadn’t been able to arrange for the Marshals Service to help?

What if they were found?

Stupid question. He knew the what if.

He gritted his teeth and fought against the fear that had washed over him like a tidal wave. Dawson was a good man; Sam knew he would keep his word. He’d arrived at the commune undercover, having the intuition to realize Sam’s feelings, his doubt, and his fear for his wife and his son. Together, Dawson had told him, they would bring down the Keepers of the Earth. His actions would free others. No, their actions would free others.

Today was the day. Just in time. Sam had known the danger of remaining, felt the way he was being watched by the Divine Leader’s henchmen.

They had to leave. Leave? No, there was no leaving the compound. There was only escaping.

Alana Fisk had wanted to leave, and they knew what had happened to her.

It had been Cameron who had found his beloved “aunt” Alana’s body at the bottom of the gorge, broken, lying beneath just inches of dry dust and rock, decomposing in her shallow grave. It had been Cameron, so young, who had become wary and suspicious first. He’d seen a few of the older boys in the area when he’d last seen Alana there, and he didn’t trust them. They were scary, Cameron said.

Sam tightened his hold on Cameron. Seconds ticked by like an eternity.

Sam closed his eyes and wondered how they had come to this, but he knew.

He and his wife had wanted something different. A life where riches didn’t make a man cruel.

Jessie hadn’t hated her father; she had hated what he stood for. And Sam knew the day when her mind had been made up. Downtown Los Angeles. They had seen a veteran of the Vietnam War, homeless, slunk against a wall. Only one of his legs remained; he had been struggling with his prosthetic, his cup for donations at his side. The homeless veteran had looked at Jessie’s father and said, “Please, sir, help if you can.”

Peter Wilson had walked right by. When Jessie had caught her father’s arm, he had turned on her angrily. “I didn’t get where I am by giving away my hard-earned money. He’s probably lying about being a vet. He can get himself a damned job doing something!”

Sam had been walking behind them. Embarrassed, he tried to offer Jessie a weak smile. He hadn’t come from money, and he had lost his folks right after his twentieth birthday, but he was working in a coffee shop, dreaming he’d get to where he could work, go to college and have time left over to be with the woman he loved.

He had given the man a dollar and wished him well. Jessie had turned away from her father.

It was the last time Jessie saw her father. Despite the man’s efforts to break her and Sam up—or because of them—Jessie and Sam had eloped. The plan was to both get jobs and finish college through night school. Her father had suspected her pregnancy; he’d wanted her to get over Sam and terminate the baby.

Jessie quickly made friends at a park near their cheap apartment. They were old flower children, she had told Sam. Old hippies, he’d liked to tease in return. But those friends had been happy, and they’d talked to Jessie about the beauty of their commune, far from the crazy greed and speed of the city.

In the beginning, Brother William’s commune did seem to offer it all: happiness, unity, love and light.

But now they knew the truth.

Brother William—with his “deacons,” his demands on his “flock” and the cache of arms he kept stowed away as he created his empire, demanding absolute power for himself, complete obedience among his followers. And it became clear Brother William’s will was enforced; he had those deacons—Brothers Colin, Anthony and Darryl, and the squad beneath them. They received special treatment.

Sam clutched his family as he strained to hear any unfamiliar sound in the woods. Was that footsteps? Was the rustling of branches just the breeze?

He had to stop dwelling on fear.

He had to stay strong. Maybe not ruminate on what they’d been through.

But there was nothing else to do while they waited, barely breathing.

Think back, remember it all.

Excerpted from Danger in Numbers by Heather Graham, Copyright © 2021 by Heather Graham Pozzessere Published by MIRA Books

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

My Thoughts

As I was reading this book I was trying to figure out the significance of the title. As the book is based on a killer whose modus operandi is inspired by the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse I wondered if its meaning was biblical. Numbers is the fourth book of the Old Testament. Written by Moses it not only takes census, but follows the Israelites in their time wandering the desert in search of The Promised Land. Because of their doubt they spend 38 years being lost and tested as God reminds them that there is a cost to rebellion.

Here we have a family in exodus. Later there will be a woman missing in the wilds of the Florida Everglades. And throughout there is a cult whose members know a high price will be levied should they disobey their “Divine leader”. Probably a stretch with the connection there, but the premise behind this book and the ritualistic murder were certainly intriguing. It seems that Danger in Numbers is a start of a new series featuring partners in love and crime – Amy Larson and Hunter Forrest. Would recommend to those who are thrilled by fanatical cults and not feint of heart.


Meet the Author

Heather Graham is the New York Times and USA Today best-selling author has written over two hundred novels and novellas, has been published in approximately twenty-five languages and with about 60 million books sold in print in the categories of romantic suspense, historical romance, vampire fiction, time travel, occult, and Christmas holiday fare.

Where You Can Find Her

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Blog Tour: The Jigsaw Man

Synopsis

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery…

When body parts are found on the banks of the River Thames in Deptford, DI Angelica Henley is tasked with finding the killer. Eerie echoes of previous crimes lead Henley to question Peter Olivier, aka The Jigsaw Killer, who is currently serving a life sentence for a series of horrific murders.

When a severed head is delivered to Henley’s home, she realizes that the copycat is taking a personal interest in her and that the victims have not been chosen at random.

To catch the killer, Henley must confront her own demons – – and when Olivier escapes from prison, she finds herself up against not one serial killer, but two. 


Review

See no evil. Speak no evil. Hear no evil.

Wiser words have never been spoken. But our hero DI Anjelica Henley has seen it all. She’s a young up and coming detective in the Serial Cases Unit who is responsible for taking down one of London’s most sadistic killers. Dubbed “The Jigsaw Man” for dismembering the bodies of his seven victims, Peter Olivier sits in jail serving consecutive life sentences. He is the epitome of an evil psychopathic genius. Think Anthony Hopkins’s betrayal of Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs. So when body parts start popping up along the Southern banks with signs of his M.O. everyone is praying that he didn’t have a partner, someone he groomed and trained. Despite the fact that Henley is still suffering from PTSD as a result of her previous encounters with Olivier she is best person for the job. No one knows him like she does.

The Jigsaw Man keeps you on the seat of your pants with all its twists and turns. But what I really appreciated was the character development. I liked that Anjelica is strong yet vulnerable. That her character handles micro-aggressions and outright prejudice with aplomb. That she has loyal people in her corner. Both Stanford and Ramouter were likeable characters that I would have enjoyed seeing more of. Olivier was so bad he was good. The Yin to her Yang; the dynamic between two really kept things interesting. And that ending begs for more. I can see a series with DI Henley and Olivier in the future and I’m all here for it.


Meet Nadine Matheson

Nadine Matheson is a writer of crime fiction, contemporary fiction and occasionally dips into the world of speculative fiction.  In 2016, she won the City University Crime Writing Competition with the short story that later became The Jigsaw Man.

When Nadine is not writing, she works as a criminal lawyer and lecturer. She lives in London and in her fantasy life would write comic books for a living.

Where You Can Find Nadine

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Blog Tour: Home is Not a Country


Genre: Young Adult
Publication Date: March 2rd, 2021
Publisher: Penguin Random House

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Special thanks to Siham at Qamar Blog Tours for arranging this tour.

Synopsis

Nima doesn’t feel understood. By her mother, who grew up far away in a different land. By her suburban town, which makes her feel too much like an outsider to fit in and not enough like an outsider to feel like that she belongs somewhere else. At least she has her childhood friend Haitham, with whom she can let her guard down and be herself. Until she doesn’t.

As the ground is pulled out from under her, Nima must grapple with the phantom of a life not chosen, the name her parents didn’t give her at birth: Yasmeen. But that other name, that other girl, might just be more real than Nima knows. And more hungry. And the life Nima has, the one she keeps wishing were someone else’s . . . she might have to fight for it with a fierceness she never knew she had.


My Thoughts

What does it mean to be home?

Is home your country? Your neighborhood? Your house?

For Nima, a young girl born in America to immigrant parents neither country feels like home. She has a feel for the old country through the stories and songs and pictures that she lovingly hoards as the “Nostalgia Monster” but she is not the traditional girl. She doesn’t dress herself up all fancy to appease the aunties. Despite the fact that it hurts sometimes when she overhears them gossiping about how she doesn’t fit the mold. Though immersed in American culture at school, she still stands out and must face discrimination. This is why for Nima home is not some randomly constructed border called country, but the community that she lives in. It’s the people around her. The people who love her and care for her like Haitham.

Elhillo explores borders further through the character Yasmeen. Fans of the poet were first introduced to Yasmeen in a poem about identity:

Yasmeen’s character allows us to venture into the possibilities of life. A lot of times, especially as a teenager, you are trying to figure out who you are and what your place is in this world. Time is spent imagining a different reality. What if I were skinny, rich, . . . whatever, what would my life be like then? What if? Even as adults we wonder how our world would be different if certain events had not happened to us. Yasmeen allows Nima to see what those possibilities could be. Nima learns that she is not beholden to borders whether they be political lines or societal stereotypes. Most importantly, — those little boxes that we draw ourselves into, those self-imposed barriers — can be breeched and hurdled.

Home is Not a Country is a beautiful book both inside and out. I don’t feel as if there are any words that I can say that could capture the wonder and the richness of this work. I first “met” Safia Elhillo in BreakBeat Poets, Vol.2: Black Girl Magic. So when I heard that this book was coming out I immediately requested the audiobook through my library. This gave me the opportunity to read the book in print while listening to Elhillo tell Nima’s story. Besides her cadence, I really appreciated listening to her speak and sing Arabic. This was truly a multi-dimensional experience for me that was heightened by the music in Elhillo’s Spotify playlist.


Safia Elhillo

Safia Elhillo is the author of The January Children (University of Nebraska Press, 2017), which received the the Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets and an Arab American Book Award, Girls That Never Die (One World/Random House, forthcoming), and the novel in verse Home Is Not A Country (Make Me A World/Random House, 2021). 

Sudanese by way of Washington, DC, she holds an MFA from The New School, a Cave Canem Fellowship, and a 2018 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation. Safia is a Pushcart Prize nominee (receiving a special mention for the 2016 Pushcart Prize), co-winner of the 2015 Brunel International African Poetry Prize, and listed in Forbes Africa’s 2018 “30 Under 30.”

Safia’s work appears in POETRY Magazine, Callaloo, and The Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-day series, among others, and in anthologies including The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop and The Penguin Book of Migration Literature. Her work has been translated into several languages, and commissioned by Under ArmourCuyana, and the Bavarian State Ballet. With Fatimah Asghar, she is co-editor of the anthology Halal If You Hear Me (Haymarket Books, 2019). She is currently a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University and lives in Oakland. 


Here’s Where You Can Find Safia

Blog Tour Schedule

Show some love to these other creators on the Home is Not a Country tour:

Disclaimer: An ARC of the book was provided to me by Qamar Blog Tours and Penguin Random House as part of a promotional tour.

Featured

Blog Tour: The Lost Apothecary

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Synopsis

In this addictive and spectacularly imagined debut, a female apothecary secretly dispenses poisons to liberate women from the men who have wronged them—setting three lives across centuries on a dangerous collision course. Pitched as Kate Morton meets The Miniaturist, The Lost Apothecary is a bold work of historical fiction with a rebellious twist that heralds the coming of an explosive new talent.

A forgotten history. A secret network of women. A legacy of poison and revenge. Welcome to The Lost Apothecary…

Hidden in the depths of eighteenth-century London, a secret apothecary shop caters to an unusual kind of clientele. Women across the city whisper of a mysterious figure named Nella who sells well-disguised poisons to use against the oppressive men in their lives. But the apothecary’s fate is jeopardized when her newest patron, a precocious twelve-year-old, makes a fatal mistake, sparking a string of consequences that echo through the centuries.

Meanwhile in present-day London, aspiring historian Caroline Parcewell spends her tenth wedding anniversary alone, running from her own demons. When she stumbles upon a clue to the unsolved apothecary murders that haunted London two hundred years ago, her life collides with the apothecary’s in a stunning twist of fate—and not everyone will survive.

With crackling suspense, unforgettable characters and searing insight, The Lost Apothecary is a subversive and intoxicating debut novel of secrets, vengeance and the remarkable ways women can save each other despite the barrier of time.


Review

The Lost Apothecary is an historical fiction with a dual timeline set in 1791 London and the present day. Both of these timelines deal with secrets and the agency of women. Both story arcs are born out of betrayal. The pain from one betrayal leads one woman to turn her apothecary into a means for other women to free themselves of the men in their lives. Whether it be their husband or employer Nella serves up doses of poison to kill them but make it look like they died of natural causes. Caroline’s betrayal brings her to England alone seeking clarity about her marriage.

The two timelines cross paths when Caroline goes mudlarking and finds a vial with the apothecary’s logo etched on it. This peaks her interest enough that she begins researching the lost apothecary and the series of murders that were linked to it. I loved how Penner brought the two storylines together and especially how she managed to have these dual timelines reach a crescendo at the same time.

The Lost Apothecary emphasizes how women are erased from history. Both main characters strive to defy this convention. Nella ensures that the names of every woman who visits her shop are recorded while Caroline works diligently to uncover their voices.

Words of Wisdom from The Lost Apothecary

  1. We can use our relationships with others to hide things from ourselves. In Caroline’s case once she got married she put her aspirations aside and followed her husband.
  2. We can be happy but not necessarily fulfilled. In loving someone else do not lose who are or forget your dreams.

Meet the Author

Sarah Penner is the debut author of The Lost Apothecary, to be translated in eleven languages worldwide. She works full-time in finance and is a member of the Historical Novel Society and the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. She and her husband live in St. Petersburg, Florida, with their miniature dachshund, Zoe.

Where You Can Find Her

Featured

Blog Tour: Honey Girl

Buy Links

Synopsis

HONEY GIRL (Park Row Books; February 23, 2021; $17.99) by Morgan Rogers is a stunning #ownvoices debut, a charming, lyrical, and introspective romantic coming-of-age story about Grace Porter – millennial, Black woman, astronomy Ph.D. – who wakes up after a wild night in Vegas married to a woman she doesn’t know. 

Strait-laced and structured all her life, Porter now faces life without a plan for the first time ever. Between her disappointed military father, the competitive job market, and a consuming sense of aimlessness, finding and falling in love with her wife across the country seems to be the only right answer. But Porter’s problems are just as big in Brooklyn as they are anywhere else, and she realizes she’s going to have to face adulthood whether she’s ready or not. 


My Thoughts

Have you ever read a book where you thought it was just what you needed when you needed it? Honey Girl has been that book for me. Those of you who know me know that I don’t do romance novels. I simply don’t do them. So why did I say yes to this blog tour invitation? (Thank you Lia Ferrone by the way. :D) Being a Black woman who has gone through a PhD program I was curious how Rogers was going to write and represent those of us who have ventured this road alone. It can be a very isolating and lonely existence. And then I was trying to wrap my head around how someone like Grace, supposedly so put together (believe me I know how “F.I.N.E.” – ie f’d up, Insecure, Neurotic and Emotional – we overachievers can be.) would allow her walls to come down long enough to get married to a perfect stranger. But Rogers pulls it off. You understand what brings Grace here AND you acknowledge what Yuki brings to her world. Honey Girl, at its heart, is more of a character study about a woman coming to find her own path in life. I think this is why it resonated with me. Both women were relatable. Both women had found families that I adored. Grace’s angst was palpable. Yuki’s stories were heartfelt and earnest. This was one of the places where Rogers’s poetic voice truly shines.

My question to all the lonely creatures out there is who is your siren? Who is your fellow lonely creature who sees into the very core of you and knows which song to sing? What song do they sing for you, and do you follow? What would happen if you did?

The synopsis sounds catchy but Honey Girl is so much more deep and honest than that. Rogers addresses racism, mental health and family dynamics and yet she leaves the reader with hope.

Honey Girl is a wonderfully rich debut that showcases Morgan Rogers’ amazing talent.


Meet the Author

Morgan Rogers is a queer black millennial. She writes books for queer girls that are looking for their place in the world. She lives in Maryland and has a Shih Tzu named Nico and a cat named Grace that she would love to write into a story one day. HONEY GIRL is her debut novel. 


Excerpt

One

Grace wakes up slow like molasses. The only difference is molasses is sweet, and this—the dry mouth and the pounding headache—is sour. She wakes up to the blinding desert sun, to heat that infiltrates the windows and warms her brown skin, even in late March.

  Her alarm buzzes as the champagne-bubble dream pops.

  Grace wakes in Las Vegas instead of her apartment in Portland, and she groans.

  She’s still in last night’s clothes, ripped high-waisted jeans and a cropped, white BRIDE t-shirt she didn’t pack. The bed is warm, which isn’t surprising. But as Grace moves, shifts and tries to remember how to work her limbs, she notices it’s a different kind of warm. The bed, the covers, the smooth cotton pillowcase beside her, is body-warm. Sleep-warm.

The hotel bed smells like sea-salt and spell herbs. The kind people cut up and put in tea, in bottles, soaking into oil and sealed with a little chant. It smells like kitchen magic.

She finds the will to roll over into the warm patch. Her memories begin to trickle in from the night before like a movie in rewind. There were bright lights and too-sweet drinks and one club after another. There was a girl with rose-pink cheeks and pitch-black hair and, yes, sea-salt and sage behind her ears and over the soft, veiny parts of her wrists. Her name clings to the tip of Grace’s tongue but does not pull free.

The movie in Grace’s head fast-forwards. The girl’s hand stayed clutched in hers for the rest of the night. Her mouth was pretty pink. She clung to Grace’s elbow and whispered, “Stay with me,” when Agnes and Ximena decided to go back to the hotel.

Stay with me, she said, and Grace did. Follow me, she said, like Grace was used to doing. Follow your alarm. Follow your schedule. Follow your rubric. Follow your graduation plan. Follow a salt and sage girl through a city of lights and find yourself at the steps of a church.

Maybe it wasn’t a church. It didn’t seem like one. A place with fake flowers and red carpet and a man in a white suit. A fake priest. Two girls giggled through champagne bubbles and said yes. Grace covers her eyes and sees it play out.

“Jesus,” she mutters, sitting up suddenly and clutching the sheets to keep herself steady.

She gets up, knees wobbling. “Get it together, Grace Porter.” Her throat is dry and her tongue sticks to the roof of her mouth. “You are hungover. Whatever you think happened, didn’t happen.” She looks down at her t-shirt and lets out a shaky screech into her palms. “It couldn’t have happened, because you are smart, and organized, and careful. None of those things would lead to a wedding. A wedding!”

“Didn’t happen,” she murmurs, trying to make up the bed. It’s a fruitless task, but making up the bed makes sense, and everything else doesn’t. She pulls at the sheets, and three things float to the floor like feathers.

  A piece of hotel-branded memo paper. A business card. A photograph.

Grace picks up the glossy photograph first. It is perfectly rectangular, like someone took the time to cut it carefully with scissors.

In it, the plastic church from her blurry memories. The church with its wine-colored carpet and fake flowers. There is no Elvis at this wedding, but there is a man, a fake priest, with slicked back hair and rhinestones around his eyes.

In it, Grace is tall and brown and narrow, and her gold, spiraling curls hang past her shoulders. She is smiling bright. It makes her face hurt now, to know she can smile like that, can be that happy surrounded by things she cannot remember.

Across from her, their hands intertwined, is the girl. In the picture, her cheeks are just as rose-pink. Her hair is just as pitch-black as an empty night sky. She is smiling, much like Grace is smiling. On her left hand, a black ring encircles her finger, the one meant for ceremonies like this.

Grace, hungover and wary of this new reality, lifts her own left hand. There, on the same finger, a gold ring. This part evaded her memories, forever lost in sticky-sweet alcohol. But there is it, a ring. A permanent and binding and claiming ring. 

  “What the hell did you do, Porter?” she says, tracing it around her finger.

She picks up the business card, smaller and somehow more intimate, next. It smells like the right side of the bed. Sea salt. Sage. Crushed herbs. Star anise. It is a good smell.

On the front, a simple title:

ARE YOU THERE?

   brooklyn’s late night show for lonely creatures

  & the supernatural. Sometimes both.

   99.7 FM

  She picks up the hotel stationery. The cramped writing is barely legible, like it was written in a hurry.

I know who I am, but who are you? I woke up during the sunrise, and your hair and your skin and the freckles on your nose glowed like gold. Honey-gold. I think you are my wife, and I will call you Honey Girl. Consider this a calling card, if you ever need a—I don’t know how these things work. A friend? A—

 Wife, it says, but crossed out.

 A partner. Or. I don’t know. I have to go. But I think I had fun, and I think I was happy. I don’t think I would get married if I wasn’t. I hope you were, too.

What is it they say? What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas? Well, I can’t stay.

Maybe one day you’ll come find me, Honey Girl. Until then, you can follow the sound of my voice. Are you listening?

Excerpted from Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers, Copyright © 2021 by Morgan Rogers

Published by Park Row Books