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Blog Tour: What She Did

  • Mystery/Thriller
  • Kindle Edition, 236 pages
  • Published September 20th 2021 by Bookouture
  • Retail $9.99
  • Amazon
  • Apple
  • Kobo
  • Google

Synopsis

Marissa lives alone in her tiny one-bed apartment. It’s quiet and safe; all she’s ever wanted. But when the police knock on her door with the news that her last remaining family member has died, she comes face to face with the family secret she has spent a lifetime running from.

A witness saw her car outside his house that day, but Marissa knows she’s innocent. She hasn’t seen her uncle in years and remembers going to bed in her own home that night. But she’s had blackouts before and can’t always trust her memory.

Days later, Marissa’s neighbour is found dead in his home, exactly like her uncle. It was no secret that Marissa didn’t get on with her neighbour, but she’d never want to see him hurt.

As you read, you’ll think you know where to draw the line between innocence and guilt. But blame is a dangerous thing, and nothing is ever what it seems…

Perfect for fans of C.L. Taylor, Teresa Driscoll and Lisa Jewell, What She Did is a dark and twisty crime thriller that will keep you up all night!


Review

Marissa has had a hard life filled with trauma. First, she witnesses her mother’s murder. Then she is subjected to abuse at the hands of her family who take her in. She is a fragile adult. Scarred from the memories, she thinks she has found a safe place in a quiet little cottage tucked away from the world. But that hope is soon destroyed by an obnoxiously aggressive neighbor. When both he and her abusive uncle are found dead – stabbed in the same manner – Marissa is an obvious suspect. The problem is she does not remember the nights of the murders. Did she do it? Marissa herself doesn’t even know. She could have just as easily committed these crimes while sleepwalking as having been blacked out from her excessive drinking. Certainly no one will believe her account.

What She Did is the perfect whodunit for people who like unreliable narrators. Every word and everyone is suspect.


Meet the Author

Carla started writing more seriously ten years ago after having flirted with musical theatre and occasional writing in her youth.

Since then she has written & produced several stage plays, has four self-published books, has acted in several independent films and is currently in the final stages of production of her feature horror film, Penny for the Guy.

She now writes full time as well as co-owning a film, photography & video production company located in the heart of Redditch town centre.

Where You Can Find Her


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Book Review: Revelator by Daryl Gregory

Synopsis

From the acclaimed author of Spoonbenders comes the gripping tale of a family’s mysterious religion, and the daughter who turns her back on their god.

In 1933, nine-year-old Stella is left in the care of her grandmother, Motty, in the backwoods of Tennessee. These remote hills of the Smoky Mountains are home to dangerous secrets, and soon after she arrives, Stella wanders into a dark cavern where she encounters the family’s personal god, an entity known as the Ghostdaddy.

Years later, after a tragic incident that caused her to flee, Stella–now a professional bootlegger–returns for Motty’s funeral, and to check on the mysterious ten-year-old girl named Sunny that Motty adopted. Sunny appears innocent enough, but she is more powerful than Stella could imagine–and she’s a direct link to Stella’s buried past and her family’s destructive faith.

Haunting and wholly engrossing, summoning mesmerizing voices and giving shape to the dark, Revelator is a southern gothic tale for the ages.


Review

I read this book with the Mystery Book Club on Instagram. Many were commenting “What have I just read?” Now that I have finished I know exactly what they mean. Trust me when I tell you they mean this in a good way, the very best of ways. Revelator is a genre bending mix of Appalachian noir and fantasy. Set in the 1930s and 40s, the wonder and beauty of Cades Cove and its early settlers come alive. In this isolated environment faith mixes with fear as we wade through family secrets and religious fanaticism.

Stella is our revelator and it is her job to commune with the Ghostdaddy and carry its message. But even she is not sure of what Ghostdaddy is our what Ghostdaddy truly wants. She fears that her family in their blind zeal to please their god may be putting themselves in danger. As she gets older she realizes the power of the Word lies not just in what is written but in who gets to hear the full story.

Revelator was not as scary as I thought it would be. Thank God for small wonders. I am not sure if I would classify it as horror but Ghostdaddy certainly was a weird creature that I wouldn’t want to walk across even in the light of day. I appreciated the historical aspects of Cades Cove and that Gregory looked at gender politics and power dynamics in the church.

All in all, Revelator was a fully absorbing tale. Besides Stella, I absolutely loved Alfonse and Abby’s characters.

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Blog Tour: Lost Angels

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Synopsis

On her hands and knees, Nikki moved to the other side of the body. She couldn’t stop her fingers from trembling as she brushed the dark hair off the victim’s face. She couldn’t look away. “I know her…”

When Special Agent Nikki Hunt is called to the Boundary Waters near Stillwater, Minnesota, it’s not just the cold that shocks her to her core: the body of a young woman has been found frozen beside a remote lake. Nikki is devastated to see the victim is her childhood friend Annmarie, and she recognizes the velvet ribbon tied in her hair as the hallmark of a serial killer who she has been hunting for years.

Desperate for justice, Nikki throws herself into the case. But she is shaken by what she finds at Annmarie’s home: a dead-bolt on her front door and a map in the spare room, with the locations of murdered women circled in thick, red marker. Did Annmarie know she was next? Then Nikki finds out that the killer has left a clue in Annmarie’s bedroom: a photo of Nikki’s mother that no one has ever seen. Has the murderer at large been in Nikki’s life since she was a child?

Nikki soon realizes that the key to unlocking this case is in her own family, but digging up the past could put her own daughter in danger. She has spent her whole life protecting the ones she loves, but to find this killer Nikki might have to risk everything…

Fans of Karin Slaughter, Lisa Gardner and Robert Dugoni will be completely addicted to this heart-pounding thriller. Once you start reading, the twists and turns will have you racing towards the end.


Review

Lost Angels is an action-packed, adrenaline-fueled, roller coaster ride that will have you holding fast to your seat until the very last page. Once again our heroine Special Agent Nikki Hunt comes up against the diabolical serial killer nicknamed Frost. Except now he seems to be moving in closer to her home and family. His latest victim is her childhood best friend Ann Marie. And while she is investigating, the clues suggest that Frost knows something about her family’s secret past. Is Nikki his ultimate target or does he simply like playing cat and mouse with her? What is his connection to Nikki and Stillwater? Will Nikki find Frost before he adds to his body count? Who is next on his list?

Although Lost Angels is the third book in the Nikki Hunt series I feel that new readers will get sucked right into the plot. There is an advantage to reading the other books though in that you have a better understanding of the dynamics between the characters that will allow you to see why Nikki was hesitant to react under different circumstances. Yes, her pride did get in the way but so did her regret over past errors. Don’t get me wrong – Nikki Hunt is tough as steel. But Stacy Green reminds us that she is human too. Love her character and her team. I’ve gotten to the point where I jump as soon as I see books in this series. Looking forward to the next installment.


Meet the Author

Stacy Green is the bestselling author of more than 10 award-winning novels and nonfiction short stories. The ERIN PRINCE SERIES has been optioned for television by a major production team. ALL GOOD DEEDS (Lucy Kendall #1) won a bronze medal for mystery and thriller at the 2015 IPPY Awards. TIN GOD (Delta Crossroads #1) was runner-up for best mystery/thriller at the 2013 Kindle Book Awards. Stacy started her career in journalism before becoming a stay at home mother and rediscovering her love of writing.

Where You Can Find Her

Check out these other stops on the Lost Angels Blog Tour!

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Blog Tour: Her Deadly Touch

Synopsis

The woman is kneeling at a gravestone, her hair blowing in the breeze, a bunch of wilting yellow daffodils on the grass beside her. Her eyes are fixed on the ground and her mouth is parted in a silent prayer. But the wax dripping from her cold blue lips means it’s already too late to save her…

On her first day back with the Denton PD after a major trauma, Detective Josie Quinn is on the hunt for a missing woman, Krystal Duncan, the mother of one of five children killed in a devastating school bus crash. Hours later, Josie finds Krystal’s body beside her daughter’s grave, her lips sealed together forever with wax.

Forensics match the wax to one of the candles lit in memory of the sweet little souls who died, giving Josie her first lead to a support group made up of the parents who lost children in the crash. Painstakingly dissecting the lives of these grieving couples, it’s clear to Josie that each of them is hiding something about the day of the accident—but whose secret is worth killing for?

The case takes an agonizing turn when the body of another young mother is found near the site of the bus crash. Someone connected to the accident is out for revenge. As the members of the support group are picked off one by one, every second counts for Josie to save the lives of these loving parents who have already suffered the loss of those they treasured most…

An absolutely gripping and totally unputdownable crime thriller from an Amazon, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. Be warned, this book will keep you up all night! Perfect for fans of Angela Marsons, Robert Dugoni and Rachel Caine.


Review

Her Deadly Touch is the 12th installment of the Josie Quinn mystery series. For those of you that have been following this series, it is perhaps the most vulnerable that we have seen our heroine. Josie is still traumatized by her grandmother’s death. Now she’s investigating the murder of a grieving mother. Her Deadly Touch can be read as a standalone as Regan gives sufficient background into the last case and Josie’s backstory for new readers to pick it up easily. As usual, Regan doles out healthy portions of intrigue to keep new and old fans alike riveted to their seats. Her Deadly Touch was fast-paced, fun read. I cannot wait for the next in the series.


Meet Lisa Regan

Lisa Regan is the USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of the Detective Josie Quinn series. Lisa is a member of Sisters In Crime, International Thriller Writers, and Mystery Writers of America. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Master of Education Degree from Bloomsburg University. She lives near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the U.S. with her husband, daughter, and Boston Terrier named Mr. Phillip.

Where You Can Find Her

Stop by and Visit These Other Wonderful Creators on the Her Deadly Touch Blog Tour!

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Blog Tour: Such a Good Wife

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Synopsis

Betrayal was just the beginning…

Melanie Hale is a devoted mother to her two children, a diligent caregiver to her ailing mother-in-law and a trusted neighbor in their wealthy Louisiana community. Above all, she’s a loving partner to her wonderful husband, Collin.

Then there are the parts of herself that Mel keeps hidden. She’s exhausted, worried and unfulfilled. So much so that one night, after a writers’ group meeting, Mel begins an affair with a successful local author named Luke. Suddenly she’s transformed into a role she doesn’t recognize—a woman who deceives with unseemly ease. A woman who might be capable of just about anything.

When Mel finds Luke’s dead body in his lavish rented house, she realizes just how high the stakes have become. Not only does she have to keep her affair a secret in order to preserve her marriage, but she desperately needs to avoid being implicated in Luke’s death. But who would want to kill him? Who else in her life is keeping secrets? And most terrifying of all, how far will they—and she—go to keep those secrets hidden?


Review

Mel appears to be the best wife. She has a son who is autistic and a mother-in-law who is close to dying. She shows compassion and patience in her care and comes up with solutions to soothe them while protecting her husband and daughter from seeing the worst of their conditions. Collin is a loving and kind husband. Mel honestly cannot complain. But she is unfulfilled. She steps out on her marriage and embarks on an affair with a local writing celebrity.

I do not believe that she really fell for Luke so much as she fell for his life. Being this carfree spirit that could travel the world. That was unihibited in expressing his creativity. It certainly does not help that he is a good looking succesful man. That his books are salacious and erotic further piques Mel’s interest. She is flattered by the attention. It has been a long time since she has seen herself as an attractive woman. But now having someone else looking at her that way it means something to her. So she quickly gives in to passion.

She knows all along that she is making a big mistake. She’s conscious of what’s at stake here, what she is risking as far as her family is concerned. She knows that when other parents’ affairs were exposed that it has come back to hurt their children. They have become targets of bullying in the school and on social media. Mel does not want that for her kids. They are already vulnerable. Ben for the obvious reasons and poor Rachel has been walking around on eggshells. Then Mel inserts herself into other people’s problems being fully aware of the danger it might pose. It’s almost as if she cannot help herself. Perhaps she is drawn to excitement after having led what she feels is a humdrum life where her needs are always on the backburner.

The book opens up with Mel discovering Luke’s body. We know SHE did not kill him. But then who did? And who knows her secret? Can it be used against her? Will she take the fall for a murder she did not commit? Will she be able to keep her family out of the fray of the murder investigation while keeping her crimes of passion a secret?

The first half of Such a Good Wife builds around the sexual tension between Luke and Mel while the second half was more fast paced and centered on the mystery. This is where the twists and turns that mystery lovers crave are found. There were plenty of suspects and juicy motives.

Recommendedfor readers who like steamy romance mixed in with their murder.


Meet the Author

Seraphina Nova Glass is a professor and playwright-in-residence at the University of Texas, Arlington, where she teaches film studies and playwriting. She holds an MFA in playwriting from Smith College, and she’s also a screenwriter and award-winning playwright. Seraphina has traveled the world using theatre and film as a teaching tool, living in South Africa, Guam and Kenya as a volunteer teacher, AIDS relief worker, and documentary filmmaker.

Where You Can Find Her

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#5 On My TBR – Science

5 On My TBR is a weekly meme that gets you digging into your massive TBRs to find five special books. Created by E@LocalBeeHuntersNook this meme centers on a new prompt each Monday. This week we focus on science titles. As a woman in the sciences I was super excited to see this topic. But I wanted to choose titles that I thought would appeal to a broader audience. The following books focus on why we get sick, the power of algorithms, geneology, racism and identity.

For those of you interested in participating in #5 On My TBR you can find additional info and future prompts here.

#1 – The Disorded Cosmos: A Journey into Dark Matter, Spacetime and Dreams Deferred

From a star theoretical physicist, a journey into the world of particle physics and the cosmos — and a call for a more just practice of science.

In The Disordered Cosmos, Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein shares her love for physics, from the Standard Model of Particle Physics and what lies beyond it, to the physics of melanin in skin, to the latest theories of dark matter — all with a new spin informed by history, politics, and the wisdom of Star Trek.

One of the leading physicists of her generation, Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein is also one of fewer than one hundred Black American women to earn a PhD from a department of physics. Her vision of the cosmos is vibrant, buoyantly non-traditional, and grounded in Black feminist traditions.

Prescod-Weinstein urges us to recognize how science, like most fields, is rife with racism, sexism, and other dehumanizing systems. She lays out a bold new approach to science and society that begins with the belief that we all have a fundamental right to know and love the night sky. The Disordered Cosmos dreams into existence a world that allows everyone to tap into humanity’s wealth of knowledge about the wonders of the universe.


#2 – DNA USA: A Genetic Portrait of America

The best-selling author of The Seven Daughters of Eve now turns his sights on the United States, one of the most genetically variegated countries in the world. From the blue-blooded pockets of old-WASP New England to the vast tribal lands of the Navajo, Bryan Sykes takes us on a historical genetic tour, interviewing genealogists, geneticists, anthropologists, and everyday Americans with compelling ancestral stories. His findings suggest:

• Of Americans whose ancestors came as slaves, virtually all have some European DNA.

• Racial intermixing appears least common among descendants of early New England colonists.

• There is clear evidence of Jewish genes among descendants of southwestern Spanish Catholics.

• Among white Americans, evidence of African DNA is most common in the South.

• European genes appeared among Native Americans as early as ten thousand years ago.

An unprecedented look into America’s genetic mosaic and an impressive contribution to how we perceive race, this is a fascinating book about what it means to be American.


#3 – Survival of the Sickest: A Medical Maverick Discovers Why We Need Disease

Was diabetes evolution’s response to the last Ice Age? Did a deadly genetic disease help our ancestors survive the bubonic plagues of Europe? Will a visit to the tanning salon help lower your cholesterol? Why do we age? Why are some people immune to HIV? Can your genes be turned on — or off?

Dr. Sharon Moalem turns our current understanding of illness on its head and challenges us to fundamentally change the way we think about our bodies, our health, and our relationship to just about every other living thing on earth, from plants and animals to insects and bacteria.

Through a fresh and engaging examination of our evolutionary history, Dr. Moalem reveals how many of the conditions that are diseases today actually gave our ancestors a leg up in the survival sweepstakes. When the option is a long life with a disease or a short one without it, evolution opts for disease almost every time.

Everything from the climate our ancestors lived in to the crops they planted and ate to their beverage of choice can be seen in our genetic inheritance. But Survival of the Sickest doesn’t stop there. It goes on to demonstrate just how little modern medicine really understands about human health, and offers a new way of thinking that can help all of us live longer, healthier lives.


#4 – Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy

We live in the age of the algorithm. Increasingly, the decisions that affect our lives–where we go to school, whether we can get a job or a loan, how much we pay for health insurance–are being made not by humans, but by machines. In theory, this should lead to greater fairness: Everyone is judged according to the same rules.


But as mathematician and data scientist Cathy O’Neil reveals, the mathematical models being used today are unregulated and uncontestable, even when they’re wrong. Most troubling, they reinforce discrimination–propping up the lucky, punishing the downtrodden, and undermining our democracy in the process.


#5 – The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat

The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat is populated by a cast as strange as that of the most fantastic fiction. The subject of this strange and wonderful book is what happens when things go wrong with parts of the brain most of us don’t know exist . . . Dr Sacks shows the awesome powers of our mind and just how delicately balanced they have to be’ Sunday Times ‘Who is this book for? Who is it not for? It is for everybody who has felt from time to time that certain twinge of self-identity and sensed how easily, at any moment, one might lose it’ The Times ‘This is, in the best sense, a serious book. It is, indeed, a wonderful book, by which I mean not only that it is excellent (which it is) but also that it is full of wonder, wonders and wondering. He brings to these often unhappy people understanding, sympathy and respect. Sacks is always learning from his patients, marvelling at them, widening his own understanding and ours.

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Blog Tour – Up All Night: 13 Stories Between Sunrise and Sunset

Synopsis

UP ALL NIGHT epitomizes teenage reckless abandon in 13 stories, unmasking that awe-inspiring moment of hope and fear when transformation feels inevitable, while unflinchingly facing the issues teens think about every day. In “Old Rifts and Snowdrifts” by Kayla Whaley, a blizzard leaves Eleanor, a wheelchair user, stranded in the flower shop where she works overnight. It’s dark and cold and Eleanor is all alone—except for her ex-best friend and current crush who she hasn’t spoken to in nearly a year. In Tiffany D. Jackson’s “Shark Bait,” a young girl falls in love on Martha’s Vineyard, where she and her mother settled to escape her father’s adultery. Only, her perfect summer romance is turned on its head by the casual racism and microaggressions perpetrated by her new boyfriend’s friends. In “Like Before” by Maureen Goo, Pepper misses the closeness she shared with her two best friends before they drifted apart during their last year of high school. In a Hail Mary effort to restore their relationship before graduation, she invites her besties to “The Baddest Mother-Effing Sleepover to End All Sleepovers.” In “Missing” by Kathleen Glasgow, four friends visit an abandoned women’s hospital in search of a ghost. The night takes an unexpected turn when Lissy, the strange little sister who had to tag along, gets a little too friendly with the paranormal.

Full list of Contributors: Brandy Colbert, Kathleen Glasgow, Maurene Goo, Tiffany D. Jackson, Amanda Joy, Nina LaCour, Karen M. McManus, Anna Meriano, Marieke Nijkamp, Laura Silverman, Kayla Whaley, Julian Winters, Francesca Zappia.


Review

When I cracked the spine of my ARC I was delighted to be greeted by an author whose work I had enjoyed. The first story Never Have I Ever by Karen McManus rocked me with its ending. I thought to myself if the rest of the stories are this good, then this is going to be a delicious treat. But there was a part of me that was nervous. I put the book down and paused, What if the other stories aren’t this good? I needn’t have worried. There was not one story in this collection I did not like.

When I got to Silverman’s Creature Capture the Pokenerd in me leaped for joy. But the game was just the setting. The real spark comes from this story’s message:

“Look.” Emily leans toward me, eyes conspiratorial, voice lowered. “I’ll let you in on a little secret. No one really cares about you–”

My stomach drops. Wait? What–

“–and no one really cares about me, and no one really cares about anyone all that much except for themselves. We’re all too focused being worried about what people think of us to spend time judging others, you know? So, like screw it. Be who you are.”

No one really cares.

. . .

I’ve spent so much of high school worried what other people will think of me, that I’m not like them, but maybe Emily is right. Maybe no one cares that I play Creature Capture or like knitting glow-in-the-dark scarves or think a wild Saturday night involves a Scrabble tournament with my parents. Maybe I should say screw it and just be me. And maybe, maybe then if someone does care, it’ll be in a good way.

There was a moment after reading Shark Bait where I turned the page to the next chapter, excited to see what would happen next. I got so lost in the story I forgot that was it. That was the end. Those characters were gone from me. I had to remind myself that this was a short story collection.

Up All Night was not only representative of many genres, but also had characters of different abilities, cultures and sexualities. There was a range of themes covering friendship, blended families, first love, new horizons, letting down your mask and being genuine to yourself and your feelings. There is something for everyone here young and old. I am glad that I got the chance to check out 11 new-to-me authors. My TBR just got larger and richer for it.


Laura Silverman, Editor

Laura Silverman is an author and freelance editor in Brooklyn, NY. She earned her MFA in Writing for Children at the New School. Her books include Girl Out of Water, You Asked for Perfect, It’s a Whole Spiel, and Recommended for You.

Where You Can Find Her

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July Book of the Month Challenge

What is the BOTM challenge?

The Book of the Month (BOTM) Challenge is part of my yearly “Show Your Shelf Some Love” challenge where I read from the huge stack of books gathering dust on my shelves. Back in December when I was setting up my bullet journal I took an inventory of the books I bought but had not read. I was surpised to see that I had accumulated over 400 books. Now admittedely some of these were on my Kindle so I can see how I overlooked them. But as one of my resolutions was to curb my spending I figured that focusing my reading on the books I already owned was a good place to start.

When I set up this challenge I had 31 unread titles from my Book of the Month subscription. My goal for July was to read 9 of those and give them away. As usual though, I have no patience and impulse control so I jumped the gun and read two of these titles at the end of June:

  • The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
  • Force of Nature by Jane Harper

Book 3: The Guest List by Lucy Foley

Rating: 4 out of 5.

What should have been the wedding of the century turns into an evening for revenge. Will Slater, TV personality and and his bride-to-be Jules are both very ambitious and relentless in going after their goals. So they seem like a perfect match. But someone does not want them to be married. Jules has received an anonymous letter at her private home and ominous “trinkets” have been left behind.

You would expect a destination wedding to be grand and indulgent. But Cormorant Island is not just remote it is completely isolated. The skies are gray and the seas are choppy. The setting becomes its own character and adds to the sense of foreboding.

The Guest List opens up with the lights going out on the wedding and although the actual murder does not take place until you are about 80% through with the book the reader is kept entranced as the different characters spill their past secrets and present insecurities. Everyone is jealous and bitter. Each chapter evidence of their long memories and short tempers. So by the end when our victim is cut down, there are a myriad number of motives and suspects. Yet I was still surprised by the ending. I totally did not see that one coming.

This is my first Lucy Foley book. I’ve now added The Hunting Party to my TBR.


Next Up: The Kindest Lie by Nancy Johnson

A promise could betray you.

It’s 2008, and the inauguration of President Barack Obama ushers in a new kind of hope. In Chicago, Ruth Tuttle, an Ivy-League educated Black engineer, is married to a kind and successful man. He’s eager to start a family, but Ruth is uncertain. She has never gotten over the baby she gave birth to—and was forced to leave behind—when she was a teenager. She had promised her family she’d never look back, but Ruth knows that to move forward, she must make peace with the past.

Returning home, Ruth discovers the Indiana factory town of her youth is plagued by unemployment, racism, and despair. As she begins digging into the past, she unexpectedly befriends Midnight, a young white boy who is also adrift and looking for connection. Just as Ruth is about to uncover a burning secret her family desperately wants to keep hidden, a traumatic incident strains the town’s already searing racial tensions, sending Ruth and Midnight on a collision course that could upend both their lives.

Powerful and revealing, The Kindest Lie captures the heartbreaking divide between Black and white communities and offers both an unflinching view of motherhood in contemporary America and the never-ending quest to achieve the American Dream.

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Blog Tour: The Temple House Vanishing

Synopsis

The year is 1990, and Louisa is the brilliant new scholarship student at the all-girls Catholic boarding school Temple House. Immediately shunned by the rich and popular students, Louisa forms a fierce bond with the compelling Victoria, an outlier and student provocateur. But the girls’ friendship is soon unsettled by the young, charming art teacher Mr. Lavelle, whose lingering presence around his students ignites rumors and tension within the school’s sheltered campus. Then, suddenly, Louisa and Mr. Lavelle disappear. Many years later, the case remains open, and it has become the unsolved mystery that fascinates the media. On the twenty-fifth anniversary of Louisa and Mr. Lavelle’s disappearance, a journalist tries to finally uncover the truth, and she is quickly drawn into a web of lies and long-buried secrets. What really happened at Temple House all those years ago?


Review

There are two types of girls who go to Temple House. The legacies who come from prominent families and the scholarship students whose talents shine bright enough to get them noticed. Victoria is part of a long line of women who have attended the school. When Louisa arrives she is drawn not just to this charismatic teacher that a lot of the girls have a crush on but also to Victoria. She revels in being noticed by her, being chosen to take part in Victoria and Mr. Lavelle’s excursions.

When both Louisa and Mr. Lavelle disappear at the same time rumour has it that they have run off together. But Temple House is closed mouthed and its familes and have circled their wagons. It is now 25 years later and a journalist who grew up in the shadow of Louisa’s disappearance has decided to dig for clues into this life-long mystery. She visits the school, talks to former students and staff as well as the police who investigated the case. She scours the internet for clues and direction. A new picture starts taking shape. The vision of Mr. Lavelle as a charming fellow who could break anyone out of their shell starts to fade as people who knew him describe a man with a darker side with many secrets to hide. Was he capable of harming Louisa? Is it possible that both he and Louisa are dead? Did Victoria or oneof the other girls act out in a fit of jealousy? To what extent is Temple House complicit?

The Temple House Vanishing is written in dual timelines. The present is narrated by the journalist and the past by Louisa. I found the journalist chapters more intriguing as they dealt directly with unravelling the mystery. Overall the book is well written, but the pacing was very slow. I can see the parallels between this book and Kate Elizabeth Russell’s My Dark Vanessa. Atmospheric and brooding, I would recommend this book to people who like gothic novels.


Meet the Author

Hailed as “a rising star” (RTE Guide), an “enchanting writer” (The Sunday Business Post), and “a writer to watch” (The Canberra Times), Rachel Donohue was born and raised in Dublin, where she won the 2017 Hennessey New Irish Writer of the Year Award for Short Fiction and was a finalist for the 2020 Irish Book Awards’ Newcomer of the Year.

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Blog Tour: The House Guests

Synopsis

Two women. Two families. Two lifetimes’ worth of secrets.

In the wake of her husband’s sudden death, Cassie Costas finds her relationship with her teenage stepdaughter unraveling. After their move to historic Tarpon Springs, Florida, Savannah hates her new town, her school and most of all her stepmom, whom she blames for her father’s death. Cassie has enough to contend with as she searches for answers about the man she shared a life with, including why all their savings have disappeared.

When Savannah’s rebellion culminates in an act that leaves single mother Amber Blair and her sixteen-year-old son homeless, Cassie empathizes with the woman’s predicament and invites the strangers to move in. As their lives intertwine, Cassie realizes that Amber is hiding something. She’s evasive about her past, but the fear in her eyes tells a darker story. Cassie wonders what the woman living under her roof is running from…and what will happen if it finally catches up to her. 


My Review

Typically when you read a thriller you are expecting someone to die at the outset and to spend the rest of the novel trying to figure out whodunit. Here we have a domestic thriller where most of the characters are very likeable. Down home goodness. Family-oriented. But that is what captivates you. Cassie’s devotion to Savannah in the midst of her teenage angst. Amber’s and Will’s protective natures. The joy and comfort and aggravation that a big family like the Costas can bring. Family traditions and loyalty. You feel for the characters and they resonate with you. Emilie Richards wraps her story around you and pulls you in emotionally with just the right dose of mystery.

Would recommend for readers who like contemporary fiction with a mix of intrigue.


Meet the Author

USA Today bestselling author Emilie Richards has written more than seventy novels. She has appeared on national television and been quoted in Reader’s Digest, right between Oprah and Thomas Jefferson.

Born in Bethesda, Maryland, and raised in St. Petersburg, Florida, Richards has been married for more than forty years to her college sweetheart. She splits her time between Florida and Western New York, where she is currently plotting her next novel.

Where You Can Find Her