The Woman in the Mirror by Rebecca James

The Woman in the Mirror: A Novel by [James, Rebecca]

Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books

Date of publication: March 17th, 2020

Genre: General Fiction

Where you can find The Woman in the Mirror: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

Rebecca James unveils a chilling modern gothic novel of a family consumed by the shadows and secrets of its past in The Woman in the Mirror.

For more than two centuries, Winterbourne Hall has stood atop a bluff overseeing the English countryside of Cornwall and the sea beyond.

In 1947, Londoner Alice Miller accepts a post as governess at Winterbourne, looking after Captain Jonathan de Grey’s twin children. Falling under the de Greys’ spell, Alice believes the family will heal her own past sorrows. But then the twins’ adoration becomes deceitful and taunting. Their father, ever distant, turns spiteful and cruel. The manor itself seems to lash out. Alice finds her surroundings subtly altered, her air slightly chilled. Something malicious resents her presence, something clouding her senses and threatening her very sanity.

In present day New York, art gallery curator Rachel Wright has learned she is a descendant of the de Greys and heir to Winterbourne. Adopted as an infant, she never knew her birth parents or her lineage. At long last, Rachel will find answers to questions about her identity that have haunted her entire life. But what she finds in Cornwall is a devastating tragic legacy that has afflicted generations of de Greys. A legacy borne from greed and deceit, twisted by madness, and suffused with unrequited love and unequivocal rage.


First Line:

Listen! Can you hear it?

The Woman in the Mirror by Rebecca James

My Review:

I haven’t read a good Gothic mystery in a while. A long while, now that I have had time to think about it. That was the main reason why I decided I wanted to read The Woman in the Mirror. I wanted to see if they were as good as I remembered. And guess what, they were!!!

The Woman in the Mirror had fast-moving storylines, which I enjoyed. I feel that if the storylines had been slower than the book would have dragged on. The flow of the book was good. There were no dropped storylines, but I did have a question about Alice’s pregnancy during WWII. I couldn’t quite place what happened (if she had the baby or not).

Speaking of Alice, I felt awful for her. She had some mental issues that followed her to Winterbourne. That alone made her chapters fun to read. I couldn’t tell if she was losing it because of that or if the house caused it. I loved it!!!

Rachel was a different story, though. She inherited Winterbourne from an unknown aunt (she was adopted). Rachel thought it would be a great way to see where her mother came from and see her roots. Of course, what she discovered was something way more sinister.

The paranormal/mystery was well written. I did have an issue with the whole reason why Winterbourne was cursed not being revealed until the end of the book. I also didn’t like how that storyline was resolved. It was a little too tidy. But other than that, both were wonderful. I don’t think I will look at gilded mirrors and murals the same again.

There was a small romance angle of the book. Honestly, I didn’t see it between Alice and the captain. It didn’t grab me. Mainly because of the way he treated her. Of course, that was explained away but still. It left me going, “Really?” I also didn’t see it between Jack and Rachel until the end. I could have gone without the romance, but I can see why the author wrote it in. It made what happened to Alice even more disturbing.

The end of The Woman in the Mirror was terrific. I loved how everything came together. And then there was the epilogue. I had to reread it. The way it was written and what was written!! Will there be a 2nd book?


I would give The Woman in the Mirror an Adult rating. There is sex. There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread The Woman in the Mirror. I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

Weekly Wrap Up: February 9th through February 15th 2020

Books I’ve Read:

Odriel’s Heirs

Highland Sword

The Last Human


Books with Pending Reviews:

You Are Not Alone—Review coming March 3rd

The Borgia Confessions—Review coming February 20th

Lily for My Enemy—Review coming February 21st

A Highlander in a Pickup—Review coming February 25th

Wild, Wild Rake—Review coming February 26th

All the Best Lies—Review coming February 11th


Books with Published Reviews:

All the Best Lies—Review Here

Been There, Married That—Review Here

Foul is Fair—Review Here


Author/Publisher Requests:

Don’t Look for Me


NetGalley Requests:

Devolution—wish granted from Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Del Ray


Blog Tours/Excerpts/Book Blitz/Cover Reveal:

Foul is Fair—Blog Tour

The Mocking Man—Book Blitz


Weekly Posts:

Weekly Wrap Up

Top Ten Tuesday

WWW Wednesday

All the Best Lies (Ellery Hathaway: Book 3) by Joanna Schaffhausen

All the Best Lies: A Mystery (Ellery Hathaway Book 3) by [Schaffhausen, Joanna]

4 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Series: Ellery Hathaway

The Vanishing Season—Book 1 (Review Here)

No Mercy—Book 2 (Review Here)

All the Best Lies—Book 3

Where you can find All the Best Lies: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

FBI agent Reed Markham is haunted by one painful unsolved mystery: who murdered his mother? Camilla was brutally stabbed to death more than forty years ago while baby Reed lay in his crib mere steps away. The trail went so cold that the Las Vegas Police Department has given up hope of solving the case. But then a shattering family secret changes everything Reed knows about his origins, his murdered mother, and his powerful adoptive father, state senator Angus Markham. Now Reed has to wonder if his mother’s killer is uncomfortably close to home.

Unable to trust his family with the details of his personal investigation, Reed enlists his friend, suspended cop Ellery Hathaway, to join his quest in Vegas. Ellery has experience with both troubled families and diabolical murderers, having narrowly escaped from each of them. She’s eager to skip town, too, because her own father, who abandoned her years ago, is suddenly desperate to get back in contact. He also has a secret that could change her life forever, if Ellery will let him close enough to hear it.

Far from home and relying only on each other, Reed and Ellery discover young Camilla had snared the attention of dangerous men, any of whom might have wanted to shut her up for good. They start tracing his twisted family history, knowing the path leads back to a vicious killer—one who has been hiding in plain sight for forty years and isn’t about to give up now


First Line:

Camilla Flores has always been in the wrong place at the wrong time, starting with the day she was born, six weeks early, in Puerto Rico, before her mother could cross the ocean and land on continental American shores.

All the Best Lies by Joanna Schaffhausen

My Review:

All the Best Lies is Reed’s story. Reed’s biological mother was brutally murdered when Reed was four months old. A prominent senator adopted him and but he always had questions about his mother. Then, a DNA test threw his world into a tailspin. The results of that DNA test makes Reed take another look at his mother’s unsolved murder. But, someone doesn’t want that murder solved, and they will do anything to keep it that way. What was in that DNA test, and who killed Reed’s mother? And what is tying them together?

All the Best Lies is the 3rd book in the Ellery Hathaway series. This book cannot be read as a standalone. You do need to read books 1 and 2 to understand Ellery and Reed’s relationship as well as Reed’s relationship with his family. If you do decide to pick the book up and read it, be prepared to be confused.

I loved Reed. He was determined to find out exactly what happened to his mother. His reactions to certain people in the book were right on. I would have been mad too!!! The only thing I didn’t agree with was when he went off on his own towards the end of the book.

I liked that Ellery took a step back in this book. What I mean by taking a step back is that her backstory and issues weren’t made the focal point of the book. She was still the same kick-ass ex-cop who went out of her way to help Reed.

I didn’t agree with the romance angle of the book. It didn’t seem right to have a romance between Ellery and Reed. I understood why the author did it (to show how far Ellery had come) but still.

The plotline about Reed’s mother’s murder was fantastic. The author did a great job of keeping the killer under wraps. Several red herrings were thrown out. I went back and forth about who killed Camilla and mentally kicked myself when the killer was revealed. I also loved the twist that was thrown in at the end. I did not see that coming.

The plotline about Ellery and her father broke my heart into little bits. I wanted to smack the crap out of her father. I understood her feelings about what he asked. I would have been torn too.

The end of All the Best Lies was terrific. The author did a great job of wrapping up all of the plotlines and bringing them together. I loved how Ellery was able to get the killer. Well, she had help but still. It was fantastic. I do wonder if there is going to be a book 4.


I would give All the Best Lies an Adult rating. There is sex. There is language. There is mild violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread All the Best Lies. I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

Weekly Wrap Up: January 26th through February 1st 2020

Books I’ve Read:

Wild, Wild Rake

All the Best Lies

Been There, Married That

Obsidian (no review)

Things in Jars


Books with Pending Reviews:

Tucker—Review coming February 28th, 2020


Books with Published Reviews:

Scot Under the Covers—Review Here

Dark Alpha’s Temptation—Review Here

The Other People—Review Here

The Last Real Cowboy—Review Here


Author/Publisher Requests:

Pale Highway (author request)

Master’s Mistress (author request)

Stepbrother with Benefits (author request)


NetGalley Requests:


Blog Tours/Excerpts/Book Blitz/Cover Reveal:

Frozen, Stiff Drink—Cover Reveal


Weekly Posts:

Weekly Wrap Up

Top Ten Tuesday

WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday: January 29th, 2019

IMG_1384-0

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Bookish Update:

I have been doing good not requesting anything from NetGalley. Because of that, I have put a huge dent in my current titles shelf. I was getting books off quickly until…I started reading The Impossible Castle. That took me 5 days to read. 5 flipping days!!!!!! I almost DNF’d a couple of times. But, once I start reading a book, I need to finish it, even if I didn’t enjoy it or like it.

I also changed the theme of my blog. I wanted something that was simple and this one is perfect. Along with changing the theme of my blog, I have been cleaning up posts. Checking/updating links, updating covers/synopsis, checking to see if the book is still on Goodreads/Amazon and removing those that aren’t. You would be surprised at how many books I have taken off!!

I am still taking things gradual with getting back into blogging. Weekends are still off the table. I look forward to blogging on Monday now.

So, that’s it. Everything that has happened to me in a nutshell over this past month. I will try to do this on a weekly basis but I can’t guarantee it.


What I am currently reading:

Been There, Married That

A hilarious new novel full of Hollywood glitz, glamour, and scandal.

When he changes the locks, she changes the rules.

Agnes Murphy Nash is the perfect Hollywood wife – she has the right friends, the right clothes, and even a side career of her own as a writer. Her husband Trevor is a bigshot producer, and from the outside it looks like they’re living a picture-perfect celebrity life, complete with tennis tournaments and lavish parties.

But the job description of a Hollywood wife doesn’t cover divorce, which is the way Agnes’ life is headed after she comes home one day to find her credit cards cancelled and the security passwords to get into her enormous LA home changed. Oh, and there’s a guy there whose job it is to tase her if she tries to enter…which she does. Needless to say, Agnes’ husband is dead set on making sure she loses big time, but Agnes isn’t the type to just lie down and take it. In a world of fremenies and hot nannies, personal psychics and “skinny” jello shots, Agnes may be losing her husband, but could that mean getting her own life back?

Been There, Married That is a drop-dead hilarious battle of wills that will make you laugh out loud, cringe, and keep turning the pages to see what crazy disaster will happen to Agnes next…and how she’ll rise from the ashes.


I recently finished reading:

Things in Jars

In the dark underbelly of Victorian London, a formidable female sleuth is pulled into the macabre world of fanatical anatomists and crooked surgeons while investigating the kidnapping of an extraordinary child in this gothic mystery—perfect for fans of The Essex Serpent and The Book of Speculation.

Bridie Devine—female detective extraordinaire—is confronted with the most baffling puzzle yet: the kidnapping of Christabel Berwick, secret daughter of Sir Edmund Athelstan Berwick, and a peculiar child whose reputed supernatural powers have captured the unwanted attention of collectors trading curiosities in this age of discovery.

Winding her way through the labyrinthine, sooty streets of Victorian London, Bridie won’t rest until she finds the young girl, even if it means unearthing a past that she’d rather keep buried. Luckily, her search is aided by an enchanting cast of characters, including a seven-foot tall housemaid; a melancholic, tattoo-covered ghost; and an avuncular apothecary. But secrets abound in this foggy underworld where spectacle is king and nothing is quite what it seems.

Blending darkness and light, history and folklore, Things in Jars is a spellbinding Gothic mystery that collapses the boundary between fact and fairy tale to stunning effect and explores what it means to be human in inhumane times.


What books I think I’ll read next:

All the Best Lies (Ellery Hathaway #3)

The highly anticipated third novel in the award-winning Ellery Hathaway mystery series.

FBI agent Reed Markham is haunted by one painful unsolved mystery: who murdered his mother? Camilla was brutally stabbed to death more than forty years ago while baby Reed lay in his crib mere steps away. The trail went so cold that the Las Vegas Police Department has given up hope of solving the case. But then a shattering family secret changes everything Reed knows about his origins, his murdered mother, and his powerful adoptive father, state senator Angus Markham. Now Reed has to wonder if his mother’s killer is uncomfortably close to home.

Unable to trust his family with the details of his personal investigation, Reed enlists his friend, suspended cop Ellery Hathaway, to join his quest in Vegas. Ellery has experience with both troubled families and diabolical murderers, having narrowly escaped from each of them. She’s eager to skip town, too, because her own father, who abandoned her years ago, is suddenly desperate to get back in contact. He also has a secret that could change her life forever, if Ellery will let him close enough to hear it.

Far from home and relying only on each other, Reed and Ellery discover young Camilla had snared the attention of dangerous men, any of whom might have wanted to shut her up for good. They start tracing his twisted family history, knowing the path leads back to a vicious killer—one who has been hiding in plain sight for forty years and isn’t about to give up now.

Wild, Wild Rake (The Cavensham Heiresses #6)

Her first marriage was an epic failure.

Lady Avalon Warwyck never did love her husband. Arrogant, selfish, and cruel, it’s a blessing when she’s widowed and left to raise her son all by herself. Finally, Avalon can live freely and do the work she loves: helping fallen women become businesswomen. She’s lived these past ten years with no desire to remarry―that is, until Mr. Devan Farris comes to town.

Can he convince her to take another chance at happily ever after?

Devan Farris―charming vicar, reputed rake, and the brother of Avalon’s son’s guardian―is reluctantly sent to town to keep tabs on Avalon and her son. Devan wishes he didn’t have to meddle in her affairs; he’s not one to trod on a woman’s independent nature and keen sense of convictions. But she’ll have nothing to do with vicar with a wild reputation―even though he’s never given his heart and body to another. If only he could find a way to show Avalon who he really is on the inside―a good, true soul looking for its other half. But how can prove that he wants to love and care for her. . .until death do they part?

A Highlander in a Pickup (Highland, Georgia, #2)

A Highlander in a Pickup is the second book in award-winning author Laura Trentham’s romantic comedy Highland Georgia series, full of love, laughs…and highlanders!

When a gorgeous new man—in a kilt—comes to town, life in Highland, Georgia will never be the same…

Iain Connors is the poster boy for the strong and silent type. Growing up a loner at Cairndow Castle in Scotland with only the cliffs and moors for company, it’s understood Iain will assume the mantle of Cairndow groundskeeper when his father is ready to relinquish it. But his stint in Her Majesty’s Armed Forces has opened up a whole new world—and now, rather than settle down, he accepts an invitation to travel to the States to take charge of the Highland Games. After all, he’s led men into battle, how hard can planning a party be?

Anna Maitland is ready to step up for her best friend Isabel Blackmoor, who can’t run the Games in their hometown this year. Surely Anna, a dance instructor with boundless energy, spirit, and charm, is up for the challenge? What she doesn’t anticipate is a man in a kilt who turns up claiming he’s the one in charge. What’s worse about this Iain? He’s so infuriatingly handsome that she can’t help but fantasize about him whispering sweet-nothings in her ear in his rumbly, sexy brogue. . .

The Borgia Confessions

During the sweltering Roman summer of 1492, Rodrigo Borgia has risen to power as pope. Rodrigo’s eldest son Cesare, forced to follow his father into the church and newly made the Archbishop of Valencia, chafes at his ecclesiastical role and fumes with jealousy and resentment at the way that his foolish brother has been chosen for the military greatness he desired.

Maddalena Moretti comes from the countryside, where she has seen how the whims of powerful men wreak havoc on the lives of ordinary people. But now, employed as a servant in the Vatican Palace, she cannot help but be entranced by Cesare Borgia’s handsome face and manner and finds her faith and conviction crumbling in her want of him.

As war rages and shifting alliances challenge the pope’s authority, Maddalena and Cesare’s lives grow inexplicably entwined. Maddalena becomes a keeper of dangerous Borgia secrets, and must decide if she is willing to be a pawn in the power games of the man she loves. And as jealousy and betrayal threaten to tear apart the Borgia family from within, Cesare is forced to reckon with his seemingly limitless ambition.

Alyssa Palombo’s captivating new novel, The Borgia Confessions, is a story of passion, politics, and class, set against the rise and fall of one of Italy’s most infamous families–the Borgias.

You Are Not Alone

You probably know someone like Shay Miller.
She wants to find love, but it eludes her.
She wants to be fulfilled, but her job is a dead end.
She wants to belong, but her life is so isolated.

You probably don’t know anyone like the Moore sisters.
They have an unbreakable circle of friends.
They live the most glamorous life.
They always get what they desire.

Shay thinks she wants their life.
But what they really want is hers.

The Last Human

The last human in the universe is on the run from a godlike intelligence in this rip-roaring debut space opera.

Sarya is the civilized galaxy’s worst nightmare: a Human.

Most days, Sarya doesn’t feel like the most terrifying creature in the galaxy.

Most days, she’s got other things on her mind. Like hiding her identity among the hundreds of alien species roaming the corridors of Watertower Station. Or making sure her adoptive mother doesn’t casually eviscerate one of their neighbors. Again.

And most days, she can almost accept that she’ll never know the truth–that she’ll never know why humanity was deemed too dangerous to exist. Or whether she really is–impossibly–the lone survivor of a species destroyed a millennium ago.

That is, until an encounter with a bounty hunter and a miles-long kinetic projectile leaves her life and her perspective shattered.

Thrown into the universe at the helm of a stolen ship–with the dubious assistance of a rebellious spacesuit, an android death enthusiast on his sixtieth lifetime, and a ball of fluff with an IQ in the thousands–Sarya begins to uncover an impossible truth.

What if humanity’s death and her own existence are simply two moves in a demented cosmic game, one played out by vast alien intellects? Stranger still, what if these mad gods are offering Sarya a seat at their table–and a second chance for humanity?

The Last Human is a sneakily brilliant, gleefully oddball space-opera debut–a masterful play on perspective, intelligence, and free will, wrapped in a rollicking journey through a strange and crowded galaxy.

Weekly Wrap Up: January 19th through January 24th 2020

Books I’ve Read:

The Impossible Castle

Tucker


Books with Pending Reviews:

The Last Real Cowboy—Review coming January 28th

The Other People—Review coming January 28th.


Books with Published Reviews:

Jane Anonymous—Review Here

No Mercy—Review Here

The Vanishing Season—Review Here


Author/Publisher Requests:

The Borgia Confessions–St. Martin’s Press/St. Martin’s Griffin

Hometown Girl—author request


NetGalley Requests:


Blog Tours/Excerpts/Book Blitz/Cover Reveal:


Weekly Posts:

Weekly Wrap Up

Top Ten Tuesday

WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday: January 22nd, 2020

IMG_1384-0

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


What I am currently reading:

The Impossible Castle (Guardian of the Realm Book 1)

Who (or what) is building a castle in the middle of nowhere?

For the young Guardian of Andoran’s Realm, it’s a real concern. People are relying on her. Okay, most of the populace don’t even know she exists, but it’s still her job to protect them. Well, one of her jobs. She’s also teaching martial arts and helping to raise her orphaned cousins. Life is complicated. Anyway, it’s her first real crisis, and she’s anxious to prove herself.

Fortunately, our powerful-but-inexperienced Guardian is not alone. She has friends she can rely on for help and advice, including some who are seasoned adventurers. Of course, they have their own issues to deal with, especially the one who’s half demon. But who doesn’t have problems?

If you’re looking for a sword & sorcery tale that’s decidedly different from the mainstream, then The Impossible Castle might be just what you’ve been looking for. Check it out now.


I recently finished reading:

Tucker (The McBrides of Texas #2; Eternity Springs #17)

Hope springs eternal in this enchanting Texas town.

Meet Gillian Thacker. Her business: Bliss Bridal Salon. Her passion: Weddings. Her own wedding: It’s complicated. Life isn’t turning out like she’d planned. The last thing she wants is for a real-life hero to ride to her rescue but when an unexpected event puts her entire future in Redemption, Texas, at risk. So what’s a broken-hearted bridal expert to do? Maybe a new set of survival skills is exactly what she needs…

Tucker McBride has been proud to call himself a U.S. Army Ranger. But now that his days of service are over, he’s decided to put his expertise to use by founding a wilderness skills training school. He sets up shop in Redemption, next to Bliss Bridal, and so begins life: Part Two. Marriage has been pretty low on his agenda, but as soon as he meets Gillian, Tucker can’t help but contemplate the ultimate challenge: Convincing the reluctant bride to take his hand and leap into the adventure of a lifetime. . .until death do they part.


What books I think I’ll read next:

Things in Jars

In the dark underbelly of Victorian London, a formidable female sleuth is pulled into the macabre world of fanatical anatomists and crooked surgeons while investigating the kidnapping of an extraordinary child in this gothic mystery—perfect for fans of The Essex Serpent and The Book of Speculation.

Bridie Devine—female detective extraordinaire—is confronted with the most baffling puzzle yet: the kidnapping of Christabel Berwick, secret daughter of Sir Edmund Athelstan Berwick, and a peculiar child whose reputed supernatural powers have captured the unwanted attention of collectors trading curiosities in this age of discovery.

Winding her way through the labyrinthine, sooty streets of Victorian London, Bridie won’t rest until she finds the young girl, even if it means unearthing a past that she’d rather keep buried. Luckily, her search is aided by an enchanting cast of characters, including a seven-foot tall housemaid; a melancholic, tattoo-covered ghost; and an avuncular apothecary. But secrets abound in this foggy underworld where spectacle is king and nothing is quite what it seems.

Blending darkness and light, history and folklore, Things in Jars is a spellbinding Gothic mystery that collapses the boundary between fact and fairy tale to stunning effect and explores what it means to be human in inhumane times.

Been There, Married That

A hilarious new novel full of Hollywood glitz, glamour, and scandal.

When he changes the locks, she changes the rules.

Agnes Murphy Nash is the perfect Hollywood wife – she has the right friends, the right clothes, and even a side career of her own as a writer. Her husband Trevor is a bigshot producer, and from the outside it looks like they’re living a picture-perfect celebrity life, complete with tennis tournaments and lavish parties.

But the job description of a Hollywood wife doesn’t cover divorce, which is the way Agnes’ life is headed after she comes home one day to find her credit cards cancelled and the security passwords to get into her enormous LA home changed. Oh, and there’s a guy there whose job it is to tase her if she tries to enter…which she does. Needless to say, Agnes’ husband is dead set on making sure she loses big time, but Agnes isn’t the type to just lie down and take it. In a world of fremenies and hot nannies, personal psychics and “skinny” jello shots, Agnes may be losing her husband, but could that mean getting her own life back?

Been There, Married That is a drop-dead hilarious battle of wills that will make you laugh out loud, cringe, and keep turning the pages to see what crazy disaster will happen to Agnes next…and how she’ll rise from the ashes.

All the Best Lies (Ellery Hathaway #3)

The highly anticipated third novel in the award-winning Ellery Hathaway mystery series.

FBI agent Reed Markham is haunted by one painful unsolved mystery: who murdered his mother? Camilla was brutally stabbed to death more than forty years ago while baby Reed lay in his crib mere steps away. The trail went so cold that the Las Vegas Police Department has given up hope of solving the case. But then a shattering family secret changes everything Reed knows about his origins, his murdered mother, and his powerful adoptive father, state senator Angus Markham. Now Reed has to wonder if his mother’s killer is uncomfortably close to home.

Unable to trust his family with the details of his personal investigation, Reed enlists his friend, suspended cop Ellery Hathaway, to join his quest in Vegas. Ellery has experience with both troubled families and diabolical murderers, having narrowly escaped from each of them. She’s eager to skip town, too, because her own father, who abandoned her years ago, is suddenly desperate to get back in contact. He also has a secret that could change her life forever, if Ellery will let him close enough to hear it.

Far from home and relying only on each other, Reed and Ellery discover young Camilla had snared the attention of dangerous men, any of whom might have wanted to shut her up for good. They start tracing his twisted family history, knowing the path leads back to a vicious killer—one who has been hiding in plain sight for forty years and isn’t about to give up now.

Wild, Wild Rake (The Cavensham Heiresses #6)

Her first marriage was an epic failure.

Lady Avalon Warwyck never did love her husband. Arrogant, selfish, and cruel, it’s a blessing when she’s widowed and left to raise her son all by herself. Finally, Avalon can live freely and do the work she loves: helping fallen women become businesswomen. She’s lived these past ten years with no desire to remarry―that is, until Mr. Devan Farris comes to town.

Can he convince her to take another chance at happily ever after?

Devan Farris―charming vicar, reputed rake, and the brother of Avalon’s son’s guardian―is reluctantly sent to town to keep tabs on Avalon and her son. Devan wishes he didn’t have to meddle in her affairs; he’s not one to trod on a woman’s independent nature and keen sense of convictions. But she’ll have nothing to do with vicar with a wild reputation―even though he’s never given his heart and body to another. If only he could find a way to show Avalon who he really is on the inside―a good, true soul looking for its other half. But how can prove that he wants to love and care for her. . .until death do they part?

No Mercy (Ellery Hathaway: Book 2) by Joanna Schaffhausen

No Mercy: A Mystery (Ellery Hathaway Book 2) by [Schaffhausen, Joanna]

4 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books

Date of publication: January 15th, 2019

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Series: Ellery Hathaway

The Vanishing Season—Book 1 (Review Here)

No Mercy—Book 2

All the Best Lies—Book 3 (expected publication date: February 11th, 2020)

Where you can find No Mercy: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

Police officer Ellery Hathaway and FBI profiler Reed Markham take on two difficult new cases in this stunning follow-up to The Vanishing Season.

No Mercy is award-winning author Joanna Schaffhausen’s heart-pounding second novel.

Police officer Ellery Hathaway is on involuntary leave from her job because she shot a murderer in cold blood and refuses to apologize for it. Forced into group therapy for victims of violent crime, Ellery immediately finds higher priorities than “getting in touch with her feelings.”

For one, she suspects a fellow group member may have helped to convict the wrong man for a deadly arson incident years ago. For another, Ellery finds herself in the desperate clutches of a woman who survived a brutal rape. He is still out there, this man with the Spider-Man-like ability to climb through bedroom windows, and his victim beseeches Ellery for help in capturing her attacker.

Ellery seeks advice from her friend, FBI profiler Reed Markham, who liberated her from a killer’s closet when she was a child. Reed remains drawn to this unpredictable woman, the one he rescued but couldn’t quite save. The trouble is, Reed is up for a potential big promotion, and his boss has just one condition for the new job—stay away from Ellery. Ellery ignores all the warnings. Instead, she starts digging around in everyone’s past but her own—a move that, at best, could put her out of work permanently, and at worst, could put her in the city morgue.


First Line:

You kill one guy, one time, and suddenly everyone thinks you need therapy, Ellery Hathaway thought as she stood in the biting wind of the subway T platform overlooking the icy Charles River.


My Review:

No Mercy’s plotline was simple. Ellery is on involuntary leave after killing the person who had kidnapped four people and killed them. She is also forced into group therapy for people who have survived violent crimes. Figuring that all she needs to do is show up, Ellery is soon drawn into two different crimes. One involves a woman who survived a brutal rape and is desperate for the rapist to be found. The other crime consists of a woman who lost her son in a fire set by an arsonist, 25 years ago. The man convicted for the crime has been paroled, and Ellery isn’t sure if he did it. Instead, she thinks that someone close to the family set the fire. So, what does Ellery do? She calls Reed and asks him for his help. Will Ellery be able to help the rape victim? And will she get to the bottom of the arson?

When I started reading No Mercy, I didn’t know what to expect, plotwise. Because it is book 2, I was expecting this to be more of a filler book. I was expecting the pacing of this book to be slower than The Vanishing Season. Then I started reading it, and all of those preconceived expectations were blown away. This book was not a filler book. The pacing of No Mercy was as fast as The Vanishing Season, if not faster. I did not expect that and loved it!!!

I loved Ellery in No Mercy. She was the same wiseass woman, but there was more of an edge to her. She didn’t hide who she was or what had happened to her. That did cause some minor issues in the book. What amazed me about her was her character growth during the book. Instead of holding people at arm’s length, she started slowly letting them in. She showed empathy towards Wendy. It was beautiful to watch, knowing that her past hindered her. I hope that in the next book, there is even more character growth.

I liked Reed in this book. I liked that the author made his character flawed. There were some parts of the book where I didn’t feel bad for him, though. Like when he made promises that he couldn’t keep (taking his daughter to Disney World) or when he kept missing visitations with her. Because he was with Ellery, helping her with those two cases. But, at the same time, it was evident that he loved his daughter. He did help Ellery with her two cases. His insights lead to some significant breaks in those cases.

The one thing that I wasn’t crazy about in this book was the romance scenes between Ellery and Reed. While it did add to Ellery’s recovery (remember she was sexually assaulted), I didn’t think it had a place in the book. I could have done without it.

The plotline with Wendy, the rape victim, was heartbreaking. To see a woman beaten down the way she was broke my heart. When she reached out to Ellery, she was nearing rock bottom. I did like how the author kept that storyline going without it intertwining with the main storyline. I do wish that there was a better ending. But, unfortunately, that ending of that plotline was all too realistic.

The plotline with Mayra and the fire was interesting. There were so many twists and turns that I genuinely didn’t know how it was going to turn out. The author had me choosing between 3 people as to who set the fire and guess what; it was neither!! I did like how she wrapped that plotline up.

No Mercy cannot be read as a standalone book. It would be best if you read The Vanishing Season before reading this book. I can’t stress this enough.

The end of No Mercy was exciting. There was a small secondary storyline about Reed and his biological mother that was intertwined with one about a family DNA test, what Reed finds out at the end of the book set up for book three perfectly. I can’t wait to read it!!


I would give No Mercy an Adult rating. There are sexual situations. There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread No Mercy. I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

Weekly Wrap Up: January 5th through January 11th, 2019

Books I’ve Read:

No Mercy

The Vanishing Season

Small-Town Family

A Critical Tangent

An Everyday Hero

Wager for a Lady’s Hand: A Lockhart Sweet Regency Romance

Jesse, Jake, and the Return to Antheia (no Goodreads Page)


Books with Pending Reviews:

An Everyday Hero—Review coming February 7th


Books with Published Reviews:

A Critical Tangent—Review Here

The God Game—Review Here

Westering Women—Review Here

Wager for a Lady’s Hand—Review Here

Jesse, Jake and the Return of Antheia—Review Here


Author/Publisher Requests:

Starting Over at Blueberry Creek—Forever (Grand Central Publishing)

Can’t Hurry Love—Forever (Grand Central Publishing)


NetGalley Requests:

My One True Cowboy


Blog Tours/Excerpts/Book Blitz/Cover Reveal:


Weekly Posts:

Weekly Wrap Up

Top Ten Tuesday

WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday: January 8th, 2020

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


What I am currently reading:

The Vanishing Season (Ellery Hathaway, #1)

Ellery Hathaway knows a thing or two about serial killers, but not through her police training. She’s an officer in sleepy Woodbury, MA, where a bicycle theft still makes the newspapers. No one there knows she was once victim number seventeen in the grisly story of serial killer Francis Michael Coben. The only victim who lived.

When three people disappear from her town in three years, all around her birthday—the day she was kidnapped so long ago—Ellery fears someone knows her secret. Someone very dangerous. Her superiors dismiss her concerns, but Ellery knows the vanishing season is coming and anyone could be next. She contacts the one man she knows will believe her: the FBI agent who saved her from a killer’s closet all those years ago.

Agent Reed Markham made his name and fame on the back of the Coben case, but his fortunes have since turned. His marriage is in shambles, his bosses think he’s washed up, and worst of all, he blew a major investigation. When Ellery calls him, he can’t help but wonder: sure, he rescued her, but was she ever truly saved? His greatest triumph is Ellery’s waking nightmare, and now both of them are about to be sucked into the past, back to the case that made them…with a killer who can’t let go.


I recently finished reading:

Small-Town Family (Door County #2)

Reporter Dylan Smith comes to Sturgeon Falls to find his father. He has only one lead – charter boat captain Charlotte Burns.

After a rocky childhood and disastrous marriage, Charlotte is wary and guarded. The charming reporter sets off all her alarms, but she can’t resist him.

His questions point to Gus, who was like a father to Charlotte. Knowing this could destroy Gus’s marriage, Charlotte’s caught between her loyalty to Gus and her growing feelings for Dylan.

Families come in all shapes and forms. Can Dylan and Charlotte create the bonds that make a family? Or will secrets tear them apart?


What books I think I’ll read next:

No Mercy (Ellery Hathaway, #2)

Police officer Ellery Hathaway and FBI profiler Reed Markham take on two difficult new cases in this stunning follow-up to The Vanishing Season.

No Mercy is award-winning author Joanna Schaffhausen’s heart-pounding second novel.

Police officer Ellery Hathaway is on involuntary leave from her job because she shot a murderer in cold blood and refuses to apologize for it. Forced into group therapy for victims of violent crime, Ellery immediately finds higher priorities than “getting in touch with her feelings.”

For one, she suspects a fellow group member may have helped to convict the wrong man for a deadly arson incident years ago. For another, Ellery finds herself in the desperate clutches of a woman who survived a brutal rape. He is still out there, this man with the Spider-Man-like ability to climb through bedroom windows, and his victim beseeches Ellery for help in capturing her attacker.

Ellery seeks advice from her friend, FBI profiler Reed Markham, who liberated her from a killer’s closet when she was a child. Reed remains drawn to this unpredictable woman, the one he rescued but couldn’t quite save. The trouble is, Reed is up for a potential big promotion, and his boss has just one condition for the new job—stay away from Ellery. Ellery ignores all the warnings. Instead, she starts digging around in everyone’s past but her own—a move that, at best, could put her out of work permanently, and at worst, could put her in the city morgue.

The Other People

Three years ago, Gabe saw his daughter taken. In the back of a rusty old car, covered in bumper stickers. He was driving behind the car. He watched her disappear. But no one believes him. Most people believe that his daughter, and wife, are dead. For a while, people believed that Gabe was responsible.

Three years later and Gabe cannot give up hope. Even though he has given up everything else. His home, his job, his old life. He spends his days and nights travelling up and down the motorway, sleeping in his camper van in service stations, searching for the car that took her. Searching for his daughter.

Katie spends a lot of her life in service stations, working as a waitress. She often sees Gabriel, or ‘the thin man’ as she has nicknamed him. She knows his story. She feels for him, because Katie understands what it’s like to lose a loved one. Nine years ago, her father was murdered. It broke her family apart. She hasn’t seen her oldest sister since the day of the funeral; the day she did something terrible.

Fran and her daughter, Alice, put in a lot of miles on the motorway. Not searching. But running. Trying to keep one step ahead of the people that want to hurt them. Because Fran knows the truth. She knows what really happened to Gabe’s daughter. She knows who is responsible. And she knows that if they ever find them, they’re dead.

The Last Real Cowboy (Cold River Ranch, #3)

In Cold River, sometimes forbidden love is the sweetest of them all…

Perennial good girl Amanda Kittredge knows that her longtime crush on Brady Everett was never really supposed to go anywhere. But when Brady comes home to Cold River during Amanda’s first attempt at independence, well, who better to teach her about rebellion than her older brother’s bad-boy best friend?

Brady’s plans did not include being forced to work the family homestead for a year–and yet, here he is. And, to make matters worse, his best friend’s innocent little sister is making a menace of herself in the most grown-up, tempting ways. When Amanda begs Brady to teach her about men, he knows he should refuse. But could Brady’s greatest temptation be his salvation?

Jane Anonymous

Bestselling author Laurie Faria Stolarz returns with Jane Anonymous, a gripping tale of a seventeen-year-old girl’s kidnapping and her struggle to fit back into her life after she escapes.

Then, “Jane” was just your typical 17-year-old in a typical New England suburb getting ready to start her senior year. She had a part-time job she enjoyed, an awesome best friend, overbearing but loving parents, and a crush on a boy who was taking her to see her favorite band. She never would’ve imagined that in her town where nothing ever happens, a series of small coincidences would lead to a devastating turn of events that would forever change her life.

Now, it’s been three months since “Jane” escaped captivity and returned home. Three months of being that girl who was kidnapped, the girl who was held by a “monster.” Three months of writing down everything she remembered from those seven months locked up in that stark white room. But, what if everything you thought you knew―everything you thought you experienced―turned out to be a lie?

Dark Alpha's Temptation

There is no escaping a Reaper. I am an elite assassin, part of a brotherhood that only answers to Death. And when Death says your time is up, I’m coming for you…

Carrying Death’s orders is my sole duty. I’ve never had reason to question her, even if I disagreed. But Kyra’s fierceness and willpower sheds light on my mission. She drives the darkness of my world away. The answers to the Others’ goals lie in her past. For Kyra, I will risk going against Death’s wishes. For her…I will battle the past and the future itself.

Scot Under the Covers (Wild Wicked Highlanders, #2)

When a resourceful English lady and a hot-blooded Highlander join forces to trick a scoundrel, every rule will be broken!

Miranda Harris is known for her charm, wit, and ability to solve any problem she encounters. But when her brother lands neck-deep in gambling debt to a crafty villain and Miranda is subsequently blackmailed into marrying him, she must enlist the help of the devil himself to save the family honor―and herself.

Devilishly handsome Highlander Aden MacTaggert knows next to nothing about the ways of the ton, but he most certainly knows his way around gaming halls and womens’ hearts. Still, Aden is not sure how he’ll manage to find a Sassenach bride in time to save his family’s inheritance. When his almost sister-in-law Miranda comes to him for assistance, he proposes a partnership: She will help him navigate London society and he’ll teach her everything about wagering…and winning back her freedom. The beautiful, clever lass intrigues Aden―but is she playing her own game, or are the sparks between them real? He is accustomed to risking his pocket. But betting on Miranda’s love is a game he can’t afford to lose. . .

Tucker (The McBrides of Texas #2; Eternity Springs #17)

Hope springs eternal in this enchanting Texas town.

Meet Gillian Thacker. Her business: Bliss Bridal Salon. Her passion: Weddings. Her own wedding: It’s complicated. Life isn’t turning out like she’d planned. The last thing she wants is for a real-life hero to ride to her rescue but when an unexpected event puts her entire future in Redemption, Texas, at risk. So what’s a broken-hearted bridal expert to do? Maybe a new set of survival skills is exactly what she needs…

Tucker McBride has been proud to call himself a U.S. Army Ranger. But now that his days of service are over, he’s decided to put his expertise to use by founding a wilderness skills training school. He sets up shop in Redemption, next to Bliss Bridal, and so begins life: Part Two. Marriage has been pretty low on his agenda, but as soon as he meets Gillian, Tucker can’t help but contemplate the ultimate challenge: Convincing the reluctant bride to take his hand and leap into the adventure of a lifetime. . .until death do they part.

The Impossible Castle (Guardian of the Realm Book 1)

Who (or what) is building a castle in the middle of nowhere?

For the young Guardian of Andoran’s Realm, it’s a real concern. People are relying on her. Okay, most of the populace don’t even know she exists, but it’s still her job to protect them. Well, one of her jobs. She’s also teaching martial arts and helping to raise her orphaned cousins. Life is complicated. Anyway, it’s her first real crisis, and she’s anxious to prove herself.

Fortunately, our powerful-but-inexperienced Guardian is not alone. She has friends she can rely on for help and advice, including some who are seasoned adventurers. Of course, they have their own issues to deal with, especially the one who’s half demon. But who doesn’t have problems?

If you’re looking for a sword & sorcery tale that’s decidedly different from the mainstream, then The Impossible Castle might be just what you’ve been looking for. Check it out now.