A Dead Man’s Eyes (Lisa Jamison: Book 1) by Lori Duffy Foster

Book Cover

Publisher: Level Best Books

Date of publication: April 13th, 2021

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Series: Lisa Jamison

A Dead Man’s Eyes—Book 1

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Apple Books

Format Read: ARC

Received From: Author


Goodreads Synopsis:

Lisa Jamison has done well for a single mom who got pregnant at fifteen.
She’s a reporter at a well-respected newspaper and her teenage daughter is both an athlete and honors student. Though their relationship is rocky these days, Lisa has accomplished what she set out to do. She has given her daughter the kind of life she never had.
But all that changes when Lisa sees her daughter in the eyes of a dead man.
The cops call it a drug killing, but Lisa doesn’t believe it. She knows her ex-boyfriend was no drug dealer even though she hadn’t seen him in sixteen years. Lisa ignores warnings from her medical-examiner friend. She fails to heed barely veiled threats from the sheriff of a neighboring county. Instead, she risks her life and the lives of her daughter and their closest friend on a dangerous quest for answers.
The investigation leaves Lisa fighting for her family in a morbid, black market world she never knew existed. She learns that trust is complicated and that she, despite her cynical nature, has been blind. She trusted the wrong people and now she might have to pay with her life.


First Line:

It pays to be friends with the medical examiner.

A Dead Man’s Eyes by Lori Duffy Foster

I was intrigued when I read the plot for A Dead Man’s Eyes. A reporter shows up at the city morgue to view the body of a man she hadn’t seen in 16 years. That man is her ex-boyfriend and the father of her 15-year-old daughter. When told that his death was drug-related, she refuses to believe it. That starts her down a path where she soon finds that trusting the wrong people will kill her and the people she loves. Can she find out why he was killed?

A Dead Man’s Eyes is the first book in the Lisa Jamison series. Since it is the first book in a series, readers can read it as a standalone.

A Dead Man’s Eyes does get off to a somewhat slow start and stays medium pace until a little past halfway through the book. Don’t let the slow start and the pacing fool you; the author packs a lot into those chapters. Once Lisa watches the DVD, and the incident happens at the animal clinic, the book picks up pace. That pace doesn’t let up until the end, and then it explodes into something huge. Something I didn’t see coming and took me 100% by surprise.

I admired Lisa. She had overcome so much in her life to get to where she was now. She was the child of addicts and a teenage mother. She had made a good life for herself as a reporter. But, I wasn’t surprised when she decided to investigate Marty’s death. I mean, he was the father of her child. I would have done the same thing. I also like that while she was tough, she was also vulnerable. While it didn’t show at the beginning of the book, her vulnerability showed in the middle and end.

The mystery angle of the book was well written and gripping. The author did a fantastic job of keeping who killed Marty under wraps until the explosive climax. I couldn’t put the book down; it was that good.

I will warn that there is some gore in the book. There are a couple of scenes that made me shudder while reading them. The author also has in-depth explanations about the black market for human body parts. It was eye-opening and saddening.

The book didn’t end when the killers were caught. Nope. Instead, it amped up for a second, slightly less explosive climax. I figured something would happen with that person; I wasn’t expecting what happened to happen (if you know what I mean).

I am looking forward to reading book 2, even though the author didn’t leave any clue about what it was going to be about.


I would recommend A Dead Man’s Eyes to anyone over the age of 21. There is language. There is violence.

The Sinful Live of Trophy Wives by Kristin Miller

Book Cover
The Sinful Lives of Trophy Wives by Kristin Miller

Publisher: Random House Publishing Books – Ballantine, Ballantine Books

Date of publication: July 20th, 2021

Genre: Thriller, Fiction, Mystery, Suspense

Purchase Links: Amazon | Audible | B&N | World Cat

Format Read: Unedited ARC

Got Book From: Publisher

Trigger Warnings: Domestic Violence, Cheating


Goodreads Synopsis:

Mystery writer Brooke Davies is the new wife on the block. Her tech-billionaire husband, Jack, twenty-two years her senior, whisked her to the Bay Area via private jet and purchased a modest mansion on the same day. He demands perfection, and before now, Brooke has had no problem playing the role of a doting housewife. But as she befriends other wives on the street and spends considerable time away from Jack, he worries if he doesn’t control Brooke’s every move, she will reveal the truth behind their “perfect” marriage.

Erin King, famed news anchor and chair of the community board, is no stranger to maintaining an image–though being married to a plastic surgeon helps. But the skyrocketing success of her career has worn her love life thin, and her professional ambitions have pushed Mason away. Quitting her job is a Hail Mary attempt at keeping him interested, to steer him away from finding a young trophy wife. But is it enough, and is Mason truly the man she thought he was?

Georgia St. Claire allegedly cashed in on the deaths of her first two husbands, earning her the nickname “Black Widow”–and the stares and whispers of her curious neighbors. Rumored to have murdered both men for their fortunes, she claims to have found true love in her third marriage, yet her mysterious, captivating allure keeps everyone guessing. Then a tragic accident forces the residents of Presidio Terrace to ask: Has Georgia struck again? And what is she really capable of doing to protect her secrets?


First Line:

Pain is the first thing I remember.

The Sinful Lives of Trophy Wives by Kristin Miller

Review:

I will be the first one to admit this: I judged The Sinful Lives of Trophy Wives by the title of the book. Since Kristin Miller is a new author to me, I assumed that this book would be something like Joan Collins writes. So I wasn’t surprised when I started reading TSLOTW and realized that this book was nothing like Joan Collin’s books. Instead, this was a psychological thriller.

The Sinful Lives of Trophy Lives follows three women: Brooke, Erin, and Georgia. Brooke moves into the gated community with her husband, Jack. Erin is married to Mason and has just quit her job to focus on her marriage. Georgia, also known as “Black Widow” because of the deaths of her previous husbands, is engaged to be married. There are dark secrets that the three women keep. These secrets could destroy lives if revealed. What are they, and will they be revealed?

The plot for The Sinful Lives of Trophy Wives is fast-paced. This book starts with a literal bang and doesn’t stop until the last page. The author was able to keep the pacing of the book up, even with the three separate POVs. I loved it!! I also loved that there was a slight lag too.

I loved Brooke, Erin, and Georgia, and I loved how the author kept me on edge with their characters. Just when I thought I knew those ladies, the author threw a tidbit or had them do something that made me go, “Really!!” It made for a good read because I didn’t know how these characters would end up.

The mystery/thriller angle of the book was well written. There were red herrings all over the place, and nothing was what it seemed. As soon as I thought I figured out what was going on, the author did a 180 and changed things. I loved it!!!

The secondary characters made the book too. Mason, Jack, and so many others. There were ones I loved and ones that I loathed.

There was a secondary storyline that involved Brooke and her past. I did predict what happened, but I didn’t expect what grew out of it. That took me by surprise!!

I wasn’t surprised at what was revealed about the deaths of Georgia’s husbands. I guessed that pretty early in the book. But I was surprised at who was involved and why that person got involved. So that made me look at that character differently.

I am going to warn that domestic violence is discussed at various points. For example, there are scenes where a woman gets beat by her husband in front of a child and another scene of a husband smacking his wife where the bruises couldn’t be seen and covered up with makeup.

The end of The Sinful Lives of Trophy Wives was insane. I almost couldn’t keep up with everything that the book revealed. There was a huge twist that shocked me. I did not see it coming, and it blindsided me. But, once it was announced, it made perfect sense.


I enjoyed reading The Sinful Lives of Trophy Wives. This book hooked me from page one, and I couldn’t put it down.

I would recommend The Sinful Lives of Trophy Wives to anyone over the age of 21. There are trigger warnings, which I discussed above. They are domestic violence and cheating. There are also scenes of pill-popping, sexual harassment (Erin’s male boss told her to get on her knees and beg for her job), and lots of drinking.

The Therapist by B.A. Paris

Book Cover

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Date of Publication: July 13th, 2021

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Purchase Links: Amazon | Audible | B&N | WorldCat

Format Read: Unedited ARC

Recieved From: Publisher


Goodreads Synopsis:

When Alice and Leo move into a newly renovated house in The Circle, a gated community of exclusive houses, it is everything they’ve dreamed of. But appearances can be deceptive…

As Alice is getting to know her neighbours, she discovers a devastating secret about her new home, and begins to feel a strong connection with Nina, the therapist who lived there before.

Alice becomes obsessed with trying to piece together what happened two years before. But no one wants to talk about it. Her neighbors are keeping secrets and things are not as perfect as they seem…


First Line:

My office is small, perfect and minimalist.

The Therapist by B.A. Paris

B.A. Paris is one of my favorite suspense/psychological thriller writers to read. So, when I got the invite to read/review The Therapist, I didn’t hesitate to say yes. I am glad I did because The Therapist was a fantastic book!!

The plotline for The Therapist is simple. Alice and Leo move into a gated community. Alice soon finds out that the previous owner, Nina, was murdered by her husband there a little over a year before. Alice finds herself drawn to Nina’s case and starts investigating it. She discovers that Nina’s murder might not have been so cut and dry. Alice also realizes that there are secrets in this community. What had Alice stumbled upon, and can she prove that Nina’s husband wasn’t the killer?

The Therapist starts slowly. The first few chapters build up Alice’s backstory and the relationships with her neighbors/Leo/other friends. The author also chose to introduce The Therapist right from the beginning, which caught my interest. Once those introductory chapters were over, then the book picked up speed. There was some lag right around when Alice was trying to decide if she would leave or not, but it wasn’t enough to slow the book down. It was more of a speed bump if that makes sense.

I was not too fond of Alice during the first half of the book. While I agreed with her reaction to finding out about Nina’s murder (which was in her house), I didn’t agree with how she dealt with it. She also came across as stalkerish during certain parts of the book (going in Tamzin’s house and eavesdropping was a huge one for me). But, my opinion of her changed after some critical events in the book. I felt terrible for her (considering everything she went and was going through). I also came to like her, which surprised me.

The Therapist was an interesting person. At first, I did think it was Nina meeting with people in her house. But when the locations started changing, I changed my mind on that. I will say that I was surprised at who The Therapist ended up being.

The mystery angle of the book was perfectly written. I couldn’t figure out who The Therapist was and how this person was connected to Alice. The author kept throwing out red herrings, which in turn kept me guessing. I didn’t figure out who this person was and was completely surprised when it was revealed at the end of the book. That was a huge plot twist in itself!!

The end of The Therapist was action-packed and filled with surprises. Not because of who killed Nina and why but because of a huge plot twist involving Alice. Again, I was taken by surprise. I was also a little irritated by it. She kept railing about Leo, but she wasn’t perfect…not by a long shot.


I enjoyed reading The Therapist. I would reread it!! It was a fantastic thriller/mystery that kept me guessing throughout the entire book.

I would recommend The Therapist for anyone over the age of 21. There is violence. There is language.

I Play One On TV by Alan Orloff

Book Cover

Publisher: Down & Out Books

Date of publication: July 19th, 2021

Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Google Play

Format Read: Unedited ARC

Received From: Author


Goodreads Synopsis:

All’s great for sixteen-year-old actor Dalton Black as he portrays a teen killer on a crime reenactment show. That is, until he realizes someone is stalking him. When that someone turns out to be Homer Lee Varney, the man convicted of the murder, things take a dark turn, and Dalton is afraid for his life. What does Varney want? Some sort of twisted revenge? Or something even worse?

Can Dalton and his drama friends discover the truth, before they become the killer’s next victims? Stay tuned to find out!


First Line:

He watched as the teen in a dark hoodie emerged from a storage closet and crept through the empty high school locker room.

I Play One On TV by Alan Orloff

The blurb for I Play One On TV caught my interest when I read it. A teenage actor is compelled to look for the truth when the real-life killer contacts him. He and his friends must figure out if the real-life killer is innocent and, if he is, who killed the victim. That alone made me want to read the book.

The plotline for I Play One On TV was fast-paced. Once the book got going (it did take a chapter for the backstory to be explained), it took off and didn’t slow down. There was a little bit of lag in the middle of the book, but the author was able to get the book back on track.

The characters were well written and fleshed out. What I liked the most about these characters is that they were typical teenagers. Put aside the mystery, and they were typical band/chorus/drama geeks. I LOVED it.

The mystery angle of the book kept me guessing until the end. I thought I had the killer pegged until the author threw in that one last twist at the end of the book.


I Play One On TV is a well-written book that kept me guessing until the end. The characters were fleshed out, and I enjoyed reading it.

I would recommend I Played One On TV to anyone over the age of 13. There is mild violence and some mild language.

The Alchemy Thief by R.A. Denny

Book Cover
The Alchemy Thief by R.A. Denny

Publisher:

Date of publication: July 16th, 2021

Genre: Historical Fiction, Science Fiction

Purchase Links: Amazon

Format Read: Unedited ARC

Received From: Author


Goodreads Synopsis

When the secrets of the past threaten to destroy the future.

A tale of hope, resilience, and the indomitable spirit of a woman, this sweeping epic spans the Atlantic from New England to Morocco during the Age of Exploration.

2019: A young woman finds a relic engraved with a mysterious symbol off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard. Terrorists in Morocco steal a 17th-century book engraved with the same symbol. As the woman struggles to unravel the secrets behind the symbol, her life changes in ways she could never have imagined.

1657: Transported back in time, she meets the alchemist, John Winthrop, Jr. who is plotting to lure the greatest scientific minds to the New World. But the more she learns, the more she fears for the lives of the loved ones she left behind.

In a stunning twist of fate, a modern terrorist has traveled into the past, where he has become a Barbary Corsair. He has plans of his own. And he will stop at nothing to succeed.


First Line:

His parents called him Ismail after the Moroccan Warrior King, but even his new Glock-17 didn’t make Ismail feel like a warrior.

The Alchemy Thief by R.A. Denny

I am not a huge fan of time travel books. I have read a few books out of that genre that soured me on them. So, I was a little hesitant to read The Alchemy Thief. What eventually sold me on the book was the alchemy angle.

I am glad that I decided to read The Alchemy Thief. This book was action-packed and full of interesting facts about Colonial Massachusetts and the Barbary Corsairs (which I have rarely read about).

The Alchemy Thief started slow. Usually, I’m not too fond of it when books start slow. But, in this instance, Peri and Ayoub’s backstories needed it. Once the book explained their backstories, then it picked up speed. It stayed at a medium pace throughout the book. Again, I wasn’t bothered by it. The pace fits the book. If it went slower, the storyline would have dragged. If it went faster, then I feel that I would have missed out on some of the backstories. So, the pacing was perfect.

I felt awful for Ayoub’s character and thought that the author did a fantastic job of portraying him. She captured what war and extremism do to children. Ayoub was 10-11 when he was sent back in time. As a mother, I was horrified by what he was exposed to and what he was forced to do. I wanted to reach through the book, scoop him up, and hug him. But, even though he was sent back in time and became a Barbary Corsair, I think it was better than what he went through in modern times. But, as I said earlier, the damage was done, and it shaped him into the man he became later on in the book.

I was kind of “eh” about Experience when she first made an appearance in the book. She was too nice and very naïve. Oh, and trusting. She was very trusting to the point where I wanted to shake her and tell her to get rid of Liam. However, once she was transported back to Colonial Massachusetts, I felt that her character grew by leaps and bounds. She went from being this one-dimensional character to a fully fleshed-out person. I also liked that she forged friendships and relationships while figuring out how she was getting home.

As I mentioned above, the book’s alchemy angle was the reason I chose to read the book. I find alchemy fascinating, and The Alchemy Thief only added to that fascination. In addition, I enjoyed learning how the bodkins were made and how the main characters used them.

There is a romance angle to The Alchemy Thief. There are two main romances. The first one is Peri and Liam. I was 100% against Peri even looking at Liam. He came across as too smarmy. However, my instincts were right about him (the 100 virgins comment made me want to smack him).

The second romance was Peri and Daniel. Talk about a swoon-worthy romance. I loved the instant connection that they had. I also loved that Peri was able to confide in Daniel about where she had come from and what she was trying to do (go home). I also liked that Peri and Daniel’s romance came naturally. There was no Instalove and no instant sex. Instead, Daniel courted Peri and spent time with her.

The time travel angle of the book (which is tied into the alchemy angle) was very well written. I thought it was interesting how Ayoub and Peri were transported back in time. I liked that it was a one way only type deal. Once the main characters used the bodkin, it was gone. I also liked how the author didn’t have Ayoub or Peri give away the future. Well, Ayoub did, but he was written off as having a djinn. Peri was careful to keep her cellphone hidden and to keep up her Puritan facade.

The author had a glossary at the back that detailed the historical events. She also gave definitions to the Native American terms used. I found it helpful and was grateful that she included it.

The end of The Alchemy Thief was interesting. There is a big twist that I did not see coming, and it stunned me. She didn’t wrap up any of the storylines. Instead, with the way she ended the book, I want to read book 2. I need to find out what happens!!


I enjoyed reading The Alchemy Thief. It was engaging and kept my attention glued to my Kindle!!

I would recommend The Alchemy Thief to anyone over the age of 16. The Alchemy Thief is a clean book (no sex). There are some disturbing scenes of a suicide bombing. Ayoub has PTSD and has flashbacks about killing people as a child (he was forced). There is a scene where Peri is forced naked and has a man forcibly check her vagina (she was accused of being a witch).

What We Devour by Linsey Miller

Book Cover

Publisher: Sourcebooks, Sourcebooks Fire

Date of publication: July 6th, 2021

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, LGBTQIA

Purchase Links: Amazon | Audible | B&N | WorldCat

Format Read: Unedited ARC

Received From: Publisher


Goodreads Synopsis:

Lorena Adler has a secret—she holds the power of the banished gods, the Noble and the Vile, inside her. She has spent her entire life hiding from the world and her past. She’s content to spend her days as an undertaker in a small town, marry her best friend, Julian, and live an unfulfilling life so long as no one uncovers her true nature.

But when the notoriously bloodthirsty and equally Vile crown prince comes to arrest Julian’s father, he immediately recognizes Lorena for what she is. So she makes a deal—a fair trial for her betrothed’s father in exchange for her service to the crown.

The prince is desperate for her help. He’s spent years trying to repair the weakening Door that holds back the Vile…and he’s losing the battle. As Lorena learns more about the Door and the horrifying price it takes to keep it closed, she’ll have to embrace both parts of herself to survive.


First Line:

It was an honor to work with the dead, but Rylan Hunt – four stone, fifty two inches, eviscerated, my notes read – had died two days before his thirteenth birthday, and no funeral rites would fix that.

What We Devour by Linsey Miller

I had to take a couple of days to process What We Devour before I wrote the review for it. Normally, I don’t do that. I can sit down and write my review and be on my way. But with this book, I had to let everything that happened process before I could even entertain writing this review.

What We Devour is a dark fantasy. Before this book, when I thought of dark fantasy, I thought of Anne Bishop’s The Black Jewel series. I went into reading What We Devour, thinking it would be somewhat like those books. I was wrong, very wrong. This book took dark fantasy and ran with it.

There are several trigger warnings that I am going to address upfront. Trigger warnings are taken directly from Goodreads: self-harm (mainly cutting), murder (mass and child), sacrifices, executions, factory-related accidents and death, child neglect and abuse, filicide, references to siblings’ death, multiple scenes with death, mass suicide, violence, and blood.

What We Devour is a fast-paced book. From the beginning scenes, where Lorena is prepping a burial body, this book doesn’t stop at those frantic last scenes. The author doesn’t sugarcoat what Lorena is or what she can do. She also doesn’t sugarcoat The Heir, his mother, or anyone else in the book. I read through the book believing that 90% of the people introduced were psychopaths. I mean, if you could create or destroy, wouldn’t you be? Wouldn’t your abilities drive you mad, even with the bindings? I know it would for me.

The world that What We Devour is set in is a bleak, brutal world. Children, more often than not, outlived parents. If you were a wrought (noble or vile), you were often bound, against your will, to the court. You could also be brought up on false charges and sacrificed to The Door. As I said, it was a brutal, terrible world to live in.

I felt terrible for Lorena. All she wanted was a quiet life in Fellhollow, being the town’s undertaker. Instead, she is forced to reveal that she is a dual wrought and then forced to research for The Heir. She is forced to make terrible decisions and face some very uncomfortable truths about people she loved. By the end of the book, though, she did what she thought was right…what she thought would protect the people of her country. She couldn’t stop the inevitable, but she could save as many lives as she could.

The Heir was 100% a psychopath. But I don’t think he was a natural-born psycho. Instead, he was a made one through the abuse of his father and mother and by the power of his Vile wrought. I did have sympathy for him, though. He wanted, in the worse way, to close The Door so that the sacrifices would stop. He wanted someone to understand him.

What We Devour kept me on my toes reading. There were several twists in turns in the plotline that took me by surprise. Just a warning, don’t get too close to any of the characters (except Lorena). They are all expendable.

I loved the fantasy angle of the book. The author created a world that repulsed me, but at the same time, it intrigued me. Her explanation of Vile and Noble, how the wroughts were made, The Door, and what would happen when The Door was opened had me hooked.

The end of What We Devour left me sitting with my mouth open. Everything that happened took me 100% by surprise. The author didn’t resolve any storylines. Instead, she left me wanting to read book 2.


What We Devour is a dark fantasy that had me hooked from page 1. I enjoyed reading it!!

I would recommend What We Devour for anyone over the age of 21. There are violence, blood, murder, and suicide references. See above for a complete list of triggers.

The Hollywood Spy (Maggie Hope: Book 10) by Susan Elia MacNeal

Book Cover

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Bantam

Date of publication: July 6th, 2021

Genre: Mystery, Historical Fiction, Thriller

Series: Maggie Hope

Mr. Churchill’s Secretary—Book 1

Princess Elizabeth’s Spy—Book 2

His Majesty’s Hope—Book 3

The Prime Minister’s Secret Agent—Book 4

Mrs. Roosevelt’s Confidante—Book 5

The Queen’s Accomplice—Book 6

The Paris Spy—Book 7

The Prisoner in the Castle—Book 8

The King’s Justice—Book 9

The Hollywood Spy—Book 10

Purchase Links—Amazon | Audible | B&N | WorldCat

Format Read: Unedited ARC

Received From: Publisher


Goodreads Synopsis:

Los Angeles, 1943. As the Allies beat back the Nazis in the Mediterranean and the United States military slowly closes in on Tokyo, Walt Disney cranks out wartime propaganda and the Cocoanut Grove is alive with jazz and swing each night. But behind this sunny façade lies a darker reality. Somewhere in the lush foothills of Hollywood, a woman floats, lifeless, in the pool of one of California’s trendiest hotels. When American-born secret agent and British spy Maggie Hope learns that this woman was engaged to her old flame, John Sterling, and that he suspects her death was no accident, intuition tells her he’s right. Leaving London under siege—not to mention flying thousands of miles—is a lot to ask. But John was once the love of Maggie’s life . . . and she won’t say no.

Maggie is shocked to find Los Angeles as divided as Europe itself—the Zoot Suit Riots loom large and the Ku Klux Klan casts a long shadow. As she marvels at the hatred in her home country, she can’t help but wonder what it will be like to see her lost love once again. But there is little time to dwell on memories once she starts digging into the case. As she traces a web of deception from the infamous Garden of Allah to the iconic Carthay Theater, she discovers things aren’t always the way things appear in the movies—and the political situation in America is more complicated, and dangerous, than the newsreels would have them all believe.


First Line:

It was 1943 and America was at war.

The Hollywood Spy by Susan Elia MacNeal

I have a fascination with World War II. And being fascinated with it, I have read a ton of books that have taken place in various countries during World War II. But, to my knowledge, I never have read a book set entirely in Los Angeles during World War II. When I read the blurb and saw where this book was set, this book caught my interest.

The Hollywood Spy is book 10 in the Maggie Hope series. Readers can read this book as a standalone, but I highly recommend that the other books be read first. There are people and events referenced that I had no clue about, and it drove me nuts.

There were two distinct plotlines in The Hollywood Spy. The first being the plotline where Maggie is investigating the death of John’s fiancee. The second involved the KKK and a plotline to cause as much mayhem as possible. I had zero problems keeping the plotlines separate.

The pacing and flow of The Hollywood Spy were good. It did take forever for the book to get going, but once it did, it kept up a steady pace until the end of the book. The same goes for the flow of the book. It flowed nicely between characters and plotlines, with little to no lag.

I liked Maggie and thought she was a relatable character. She dealt with everything that life threw at her with grace and a bit of humor. I also liked that she was super bright but had to be careful not to tread on people’s toes.

The mystery angle of The Hollywood Spy was interesting. There were so many twists and turns in the plotline that I didn’t know where it would take me. I wasn’t that surprised at who the killer ended up being or why that person did it. Considering the times and how close-minded people were (and still are), it made sense.

There was a massive twist in the plotline with John and Maggie. I did not see it coming, and it took me 100% by surprise when he dropped that bomb on her. It also saddened me because what I was hoping wasn’t going to happen.

I do want to add that racism and homophobia are very much a part of this book. Seeing that it is set in the 1940s, I wasn’t that surprised that it was portrayed. It was still heartbreaking to read (the scene with the nanny in the diner made me cry). It was even more painful because 80+ years later, there is still blatant racism. The author discussed this in her author’s note at the end of the book.

The end of The Hollywood Spy was well written. The author ends the storylines in the book but is left open enough for book 11.


The Hollywood Spy was a well-written mystery. I enjoyed reading it and was kept on edge with the different twists and turns that the plot took.

I would recommend The Hollywood Spy for anyone over the age of 21. There is violence and language. There are implied sexual situations.

Love You To Death (Moonlight & Murder: Book 6) by Reily Garrett

Book Cover

Publisher:

Date of publication: June 25th, 2021

Genre: Mystery, Romance

Series: Moonlight & Murder Series

Shifting Targets—Book 0.1

A Critical Tangent—Book 1 (Review Here)

Pivotal Decisions—Book 2

Seeds of Murder—Book 3

An Unlikely Grave—Book 4

Deadly Interception—Book 5 (Review Here)

Love You to Death—Book 6

Purchase Links: Amazon

Format Read: Unedited ARC

Received From: Author


Goodreads Synopsis:

Four young women leave their dorm for a night of fun… then vanish. Each holds a unique talent with a promising career post-graduation.

FBI agent Taylor Winston and her K9 partner track the latest victim of a failed kidnapping through the Allegheny Mountains. The case, given lower priority due to lack of evidence linking to prior victims, heats up when the killer sets his sights on acquiring the federal agent.

Veteran Dylan Fitzpatrick relocates to a remote cabin to avoid the good intentions of well-meaning friends. Fresh air, forest, nature. They soothe the soul—until a scream shatters his peaceful solitude.
When a Texan spitfire suspects Dylan is the clever killer behind multiple kidnappings, he delves into a world of lies and deceit, betrayal and unwanted attraction.

Timing is crucial as he protects the strong-willed dynamo with a target on her back.


First Line:

Thick clouds created patchwork shadows on the hills straddling the valley.

Love You to Death by Reily Garrett

I was excited to see that Reily Garrett had released another book in her Moonlight & Murder series. I was even more excited when Reily approached me to review Love You To Death. I immediately said yes. I am glad that I did. Love You To Death is a well-written, fast-moving romantic suspense that I couldn’t put down.

Love You To Death is the 6th book in the Moonlight & Murder series. I recommend reading the previous books in the series but only to get the backstories of the characters mentioned in the book. Other than that, readers can read this book as a standalone.

Love You To Death got off to an explosive start. The book was on fire from the first chapter, where Amelia is drugged and transported somewhere. The author was able to keep that fast pace up for the entire book. There was no lag, and in fact, the plotline ramped up even more towards the end of the book.

I had liked Dylan in Deadly Deceptions, and I loved him in this book. He dealt with everything that came at him with a calm that I know I wouldn’t have. After a rocky start, he was dedicated to keeping Taylor safe. I also loved that he had healed enough from his girlfriend’s death to move on. He had suffered greatly in Deadly Deceptions, and it fitted that he got his happy ending.

I didn’t like Taylor at the beginning of Love You To Death. She came across as very abrasive during that first meeting. I mean, there was a young man with Amelia who was mentally incapacitated (I assumed he had Downs Syndrome, but I could be wrong), and she allowed her K9 to bite him. On top of that, she refused to listen to Dylan and had him tagged as the attacker. Her only reason: He was at the scene when she arrived, and why would he be there (dismissing his claim that he was hiking and heard Amelia scream). She stonewalled anyone who tried to tell her that he couldn’t have done it and dismissed people that told her otherwise. It wasn’t until the middle of the book that I started to have a change of heart. By the end of the book, I liked her and had come to understand her a little better.

Keeping in mind how I felt about Taylor, I did think that she and Dylan had chemistry. The author didn’t spend a lot of time with their sex scenes, but they were hot (just not graphic). I understood why she did it. The plotline with the kidnapping and the investigation was the main focus of the book.

Speaking of the main plotline, I loved it. I couldn’t figure out who it was, and the red herrings that were thrown out, worked. The author kept me guessing at who was kidnapping the co-eds while sneaking in chapters with the kidnapper.

The end of Love You To Death was terrific. I was surprised at who the kidnapper was (the author answered the why of that earlier in the book). The author also left with a mini-cliffhanger. I didn’t mind it because I believe it leads into the next book.


Love You To Death is a well-written romantic suspense novel. I couldn’t put it down.

I would recommend Love You To Death to anyone over the age of 21. There is violence, mild language, and sexual situations.

The Disappearing Act by Catherine Steadman

Book Cover

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Ballantine Books

Date of publication: June 8th, 2021

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Contemporary

Purchase Links: Amazon | Audible | B&N | WorldCat

Format Read: Unedited ARC

Received From: Publisher


Goodreads Synopsis:

A British actress discovers the dark side of Hollywood when she is the only witness to the sudden disappearance of a woman she meets at an audition in this psychological thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of Something in the Water and Mr. Nobody.

Once a year, actors from across the globe descend on the smog and sunshine of Los Angeles for pilot season. Every cable network and studio looking to fill the rosters of their new shows enticing a fresh batch of young hopefuls, anxious, desperate and willing to do whatever it takes to make it. Careers will be made, dreams will be realized, stars will be born. And some will be snuffed out.

British star Mia Eliot has landed leading roles in costume dramas in her native country, but now it’s time for Hollywood to take her to the next level. Mia flies across the Atlantic to join the hoard of talent scrambling for their big breaks. She’s a fish out of water in the ruthlessly competitive and faceless world of back-to-back auditioning. Then one day she meets Emily, another actress from out of town and a kindred spirit. Emily is friendly and genuine and reassuringly doesn’t seem to be taking any of it too seriously. She stands out in a conveyor-belt world of fellow auditionees. But a simple favor turns dark when Emily disappears and Mia realizes she was the last person to see her, and the woman who knocks on Mia’s door the following day claiming to be her new friend isn’t the woman Mia remembers at all.

All Mia has to go on is the memory of a girl she met only once . . . and the suffocating feeling that something terrible has happened. Worse still, the police don’t believe her when she claims the real Emily has gone missing. So Mia is forced to risk the role of a lifetime to try to uncover the truth about Emily, a gamble that will force her to question her own sanity as the truth goes beyond anything she could ever have imagined.

Actress and author Catherine Steadman has written a gripping thriller set in a world close to home that asks the question: In a city where dreams really do come true, how far would you go to make the unreal real?


First Line:

Have you ever asked yourself what kind of story the story of your life is?

I usually don’t read books that are written by famous actresses/actors. I have read a few books that have soured me on even picking books up by them. The books I have read were awful, and I felt that they were published because of the name associated with them and not because the book was good. So, I was surprised when I saw that Catherine Steadman had starred in two of my favorite British dramas: Downton Abbey and The Tudors. And that made me very apprehensive about reading The Disappearing Act.

I was surprised when I started reading The Disappearing Act, and I was enjoying it. It hit everything I like in a mystery/thriller/suspense novel. I won’t go as far as to say that Ms. Steadman changed my mind about reading books written by famous actresses/actors, but it has made me more open to trying them.

The Disappearing Act occurs mainly in L.A., briefly being set in London at the beginning and end of the book. I felt that the author captured the frantic pace and the darkness under the glittery facade perfectly.

The Disappearing Act is a medium-paced book for the first half of the book. The author spends a lot of time building up Mia’s backstory and her first week or so in L.A. It might get tedious, but it is well worth the wait. The second half of the book zips right along.

I liked Mia but felt she was very naive for someone in her profession. She was almost too nice at various points in the book. I mean, she kept a stranger’s keys and fed a meter for nearly two days. She was also too trusting. There were parts in the book where I just wanted to shake her and tell her to stay away from so and so. But I couldn’t, and I had to watch her get more and more involved in this mystery.

Speaking of mystery, the author did a great job of keeping what was going on under wraps until the end of the book. I was shocked when specific facts came out. And I was even more shocked with how the book ended. It was not what I expected at all.

There is a small romance introduced as the book’s plot started to take off. Again, I wasn’t sure where it was going, and I was surprised when it was mentioned at the end of the book.

The end of The Disappearing Act was interesting. I say interesting because it wasn’t how I expected the book to end. I thought that it was going to end like your typical mystery/thriller. I wasn’t upset by it, but it did confuse me.


I enjoyed reading The Disappearing Act. It took some time to get the plot going, but it was terrific once it did.

I would recommend The Disappearing Act to anyone over the age of 21. There is violence and mild language.

A Duke in Time (The Widow Rules: Book 1) by Janna MacGregor

Book Cover

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Paperbacks

Date of publication: June 29th, 2021

Genre: Romance, Historical Romance

Series: The Widow Rules

Where There’s a Will—Book 0.5

A Duke in Time—Book 1

Rules of Engagement—Book 2 (publication date TBA)

Purchase Links: Amazon | Audible | WorldCat

Format Read: Unedited ARC

Received From: Publisher


Goodreads Synopsis:

Get ready for lost wills, broody dukes, and scorching hot kissing all over London in A Duke in Time by Janna MacGregor.

Katherine Vareck is in for the shock of her life when she learns upon her husband Meri’s accidental death that he had married two other women. Her entire business, along with a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be a royal supplier, is everything she’s been working for and now could be destroyed if word leaks about the three wives.

Meri’s far more upstanding brother, Christian, Duke of Randford has no earthly clue how to be of assistance. He spent the better part of his adult years avoiding Meri and the rest of his good-for-nothing family, so to be dragged back into the fold is…problematic. Even more so is the intrepid and beautiful Katherine, whom he cannot be falling for because she’s Meri’s widow. Or can he?

With a textile business to run and a strong friendship forming with Meri’s two other wives, Katherine doesn’t have time for much else. But there’s something about the warm, but compellingly taciturn Christian that draws her to him. When an opportunity to partner in a business venture brings them even closer, they’ll have to face their pasts if they want to share each other’s hearts and futures.


First Line:

“He was a good man.” Katherine patted the family solicitor’s arm while the poor man hung his head in grief.

A Duke in Time by Janna MacGregor

When I saw that Janna MacGregor had a new series out, I was pretty pumped about it. I had read (and loved) The Cavensham Heiress series. My expectations were set high for this book because of that. I am happy to say that A Duke in Time did not disappoint me at all.

A Duke in Time takes place in 1815 London, England. Katherine’s husband, Meri, has passed away, and she is attending the reading of the will. To her surprise, two other women, both claiming to be Meri’s wife, also show up. Katherine, being a much better person, allows both women to move into their house while deciding who the legal wife is. Aiding her in this is her husband’s half-brother, The Duke of Randford. Unfortunately, Katherine is also hiding secrets. These secrets could destroy everything that she has come to hold dear, including her growing love for Christian.

I liked Katherine. She dealt with everything that life threw at her with grace. I mean, if I found out my husband married two other ladies, I would have flipped my lid. But, instead, she took them (and their companions) into her house and made them family. But she was also tough. She forced Christian to help her with untangled the mess that Meri left. She also dealt with business rivals with that same toughness.

Christian, I was a little more on the fence about. At the beginning of the book, he came across as kind of a jerk. He wanted nothing to do with Katherine (or Meri’s other wives). But, as the book went on, my initial first impression of him changed. He was a war hero and was dedicated to helping the soldiers that served under him. But, he also became dedicated to helping Meri’s wives, seeing who was the legal 1st wife, and keeping the other two from becoming “ruined.”

The main storyline was well written, and it kept my attention. I got involved in the plotline and couldn’t wait to see how everything turned out. There were a few twists and turns in the plotline, but I was delighted with how it turned out.

The romance angle of the book was terrific. Instead of having Katherine and Christian fall immediately in love, the author chose to have their love grow over time. It made me feel that their romance was true.

There is sex in A Duke in Time. For a Regency novel, the sex is explicit. There is a very hot mutual masturbation scene that made me fan myself. The author kept up that sexual tension until Katherine and Christian had sex.

The storyline with the secrets (both Christian and Katherine) was hard to read. Christian was just sad, and I couldn’t wrap my head around what his father asked him to do. Katherine’s was heartbreaking, and I couldn’t believe that it was used against her. But, how her’s was resolved left me shaking my head in disbelief.

The end of the book was terrific. The connection that Christian and Katherine have came across the pages. I had tears in my eyes. But the epilogue made the book!!


A Duke in Time was a great romance to read. I connected with both main characters, as well as the secondary characters.

I would recommend A Duke in Time to anyone over the age of 21. There is explicit sex and mild violence.