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

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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 Therapist by B.A. Paris

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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

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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 Disappearing Act by Catherine Steadman

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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.

Fool Me Once (Blackhawk Security: Book 3) by Margaret Watson

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Fool Me Once by Margaret Watson

Publisher: Dragonfly Press

Date of publication: May 15th, 2021

Genre: Romance, Suspense, Contemporary

Series: Blackhawk Security Series

Once Removed—Book 1 (review here)

Once Burned—Book 2 (review here)

Fool Me Once—Book 3

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Google Play

Format Read: Published Book

Received From: Author


Goodreads Synopsis:

When attorney Alexandra comes home early and overhears her husband Jerry hiring a hitman to kill her, she runs. Heads toward Seattle. After being a street kid there, she knows how to disappear.

But a man is following her. After she finds a tracking device, she wonders if tall, compelling Gideon is Jerry’s hired killer.

Alex and Gideon become stranded in a massive snowstorm. Snowed in at a tiny hotel, Alex isn’t sure which is more dangerous – her husband, who is likely coming after her? Or the dark stranger she’s trapped with? A man who’s clearly hiding secrets.


First Line:

Alex curled her fingers around the stem of the shallow glass as the loud, happy voices of her staff bounced off the restaurant’s walls.

Fool Me Once by Margaret Watson

I know that I have said this several times, but I love the romantic suspense genre. There is something about seeing a romance blossom while the main characters either fight for their lives or try to uncover a plot (or sometimes both) that makes me happy. So, it was a no-brainer for me when Margaret emailed me to let me know that book three was available for review.

Fool Me Once is the 3rd book in the Blackhawk Security series. This book can be read as a standalone novel. The characters from the previous books do make appearances, but they don’t take over the storyline, which I liked.

As with the previous two books, Fool Me Once is a fast-paced book. Right from the beginning, when Alex overhears her husband hiring a hitman to kill her, it was super fast. There was a small amount of lag once Gideon and Alex get to the Blackhawk Security compound, but the author could get the book back on track and keep the fast pace up until the end of the book.

Alex was a tough cookie with a backstory that broke my heart. At times, she came across as abrasive, and there were a few times where she was unlikable. But, in the end, I did like her and was rooting for her.

I wasn’t too sure what to think about Gideon. He came across as a bit stalkerish at the beginning of the book. His backstory wasn’t fully explained until they got stuck in the motel. Gideon’s backstory wasn’t as heartbreaking as Alex’s, but it was still sad.

The suspense angle of the book was well written. I liked that the author decided to go the Russian mafia/corrupt federal agent route. It made the book so much more interesting to read.

The romance angle of the book was well written also. I liked that the author didn’t have the characters jump right into bed with each other. Instead, there was a wait. There was InstaLove, but I did expect it.

I loved the end of Fool Me Once. I am not going to get into it, but there is a HEA. Plus, Alex’s ex-husband got what he deserved.


I enjoyed reading Fool Me Once. It was a fast-paced book with memorable characters. Plus, the romance was enjoyable to read.

I would recommend Fool Me Once to anyone over the age of 21. There is non-graphic violence, sex, and some mild language.

The Deadening (Olivia Callahan Suspense: Book 1) by Kathy Peresta

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The Deadening by Kerry Peresta

Publisher: Level Best Books

Date of publication: February 23rd 2021

Genre: Crime Thriller, Suspense

Series: Olivia Callahan Suspense

The Deadening—Book 1

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | AbeBooks | WorldCat

Format Read: Published Book

Received From: Author


Goodreads Synopsis

Olivia Callahan’s quiet, orderly life is shattered when she regains consciousness in a hospital and discovers she is paralyzed and cannot remember a thing. The fragmented voices she hears around her help her piece together that an apparent assault landed her in the hospital, but nobody knows who attacked her, or why. After a chilling struggle to survive, she awakens from a coma unable to remember what happened to her or anything at all, except she has been told she is an entirely different person. Or is she?

Now, in spite of a brain injury that has rewired her personality, Olivia is on a mission to reclaim her life. As clarity surfaces and she starts to understand who she was, she is shocked. Had she really been that person? And if so, does she want her old life back?


First Line:

The stiff bristles of the brush grew coppery as he scrubbed back and forth.

The Deadening by Kerry Peresta

Review:

One of my favorite genres to read is suspense/mystery/thriller. I love it when a book gets my pulse up while reading it. I also love it when it shocks me. So, when I was approached to review The Deadening, it was a no-brainer that I would accept it. I am glad I did because The Deadening was a fantastic read!!

The Deadening is a fast-paced book that picks up speed as it goes towards the end of the book. The author did a fantastic job of keeping the fast pace up throughout the book. There was a tiny bit of lag in the middle of the book, but I expected that. The author could pick up the pace again and keep it going until the end of the book.

I loved Olivia, even though I wished that more of her “before” the author showed her accident. The way she handled Monty was golden (and it was even better knowing how she was treated). I also loved that she decided she would try and figure out the events that lead up to her head injury.

I was not too fond of Monty. I would even go as far as to say that I hated him by the end of the book. But, as the author revealed things and different aspects of his character, I wanted to give him a taste of his own medicine. He was so pompous and didn’t understand that Olivia wasn’t the same person. So, I cheered at every little thing that happened to him—even the small stuff.

The storyline about Olivia, her brain injury, and how it happened was interesting. I did figure out who did it by the middle of the book, but I couldn’t figure out why. That came as a massive surprise to me. But it made sense considering who that person was.

The secondary storylines were well written also, and the author did a great job of merging them into the main storyline.

The mystery storyline was fantastic. The author was able to keep me guessing not only about what happened to Olivia but why and who was behind it. She threw out several red herrings (which I almost fell for!!) towards the end of the book.

The end of the book was terrific. Not only was the mystery about how Olivia got her head injury solved, but there were several other mini mysteries solved too. As I mentioned above, I was surprised at who was behind everything.


I enjoyed reading The Deadening. It was a suspenseful read that kept me at the edge of my seat. I am looking forward to reading book 2 (if there is one!!)

I would recommend The Deadening to anyone over the age of 21. It is a clean book (no sex and some kissing scenes). But there are scenes of attempted rape, domestic violence, and drugging a drink.

Legacy by Nora Roberts

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Legacy by Nora Roberts

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Date of publication: May 25th, 2021

Genre: Romance, Suspense, Contemporary, Mystery, Women’s Fiction, Thriller

Purchase Links: Kindle | Audible | Barnes and Noble | WorldCat

Format Read: Unedited ARC

Received From: Publisher

Trigger Warnings: Violence


Goodreads Synopsis:

The #1 New York Times bestselling author presents a new novel of a mother and a daughter, of ambition and romance, and of a traumatic past reawakened by a terrifying threat…

Adrian Rizzo was seven when she met her father for the first time. That was the day he nearly killed her—before her mother, Lina, stepped in.

Soon after, Adrian was dropped off at her grandparents’ house in Maryland, where she spent a long summer drinking lemonade, playing with dogs, making a new best friend—and developing the stirrings of a crush on her friend’s ten-year-old brother. Lina, meanwhile, traveled the country promoting her fitness brand and turning it into a billion-dollar business. There was no point in dwelling on the past.

A decade later, Adrian has created her own line of yoga and workout videos, following in Lina’s footsteps but intent on maintaining creative control. And she’s just as cool-headed and ambitious as her mother. They aren’t close, but they’re cordial—as long as neither crosses the other.

But while Lina dismisses the death threats that Adrian starts getting as a routine part of her daughter’s growing celebrity, Adrian can’t help but find the vicious rhymes unsettling. Year after year, they keep arriving—the postmarks changing, but the menacing tone the same. They continue after she returns to Maryland and becomes reacquainted with Raylan, her childhood crush, all grown up and as gorgeously green-eyed as ever. Sometimes it even seems like the terrifying messages are indeed routine, like nothing will come of them. Until the murders start, and the escalation begins…


First Line:

The first time Adrian Rizzo met her father, he tried to kill her.

legacy by nora roberts

Review:

Nora Roberts is one of my favorite romance authors to read. I was first introduced to her work when I was in middle school, and the library had one of her books in stock (I don’t remember which one, that was thirty years ago). When my oldest daughter was born fifteen years ago, I stopped reading and didn’t pick up a book until she was four and my son was two. But, it took me until mid-March to pick up a Nora Roberts book. I am glad I did. I enjoyed reading Legacy!!

Legacy is a medium-paced book. The book’s pacing was medium-paced, but it ramped up quickly during the last few chapters of the book. There was some lag in the book’s middle (when Adrian and Raylan’s storyline came together), but it didn’t last for long.

There were two main points of view, with a third point of view added later in the book. I am not a big fan when an unexpected POV is added late in the book. But, in this case, considering who the POV belonged to, it made perfect sense.

I adored Adrian in Legacy. She was one of the more grounded characters that I have read in awhile. But, I did find it hard to connect to her during certain scenes. But overall, I read her scenes with a smile.

I liked and sympathized with Raylan’s character. His loss was one of the saddest that I have read. I liked that the author showed a realistic view of someone’s grieving process. I thought that he was a great father also. Plus, I like his dog…lol.

Speaking of the dogs in Legacy, they were fantastic. Sadie and Jasper made the book whenever they appeared. Sadie proved herself to be the true MVP at the end of the book (Jasper too).

I loved Raylan’s children, but I did think that they talked a little too grownup for a six and eight-year-old. I have a seven-year-old, and she doesn’t have the vocabulary that Mo did. But, that aside, they were adorable.

I was surprised at who The Poet was. For some reason, I thought it was going to someone else (the PI had mentioned another person).

The author built up the romance angle of the book slowly. Of course, I knew that Raylan and Adrian were going to get together. It was just a matter of when/where. When they did end up getting together, there was a feeling of “Finally.” I liked that the author had them dating before the events that led up to the end of the book. It made the ending so much better!!

The thriller/suspense angle of the book kept me on edge. I liked the mini-chapters where The Poet was featured. I got a better understanding of how this person was spiraling. When that person started escalating, I couldn’t read the book fast enough. I needed to see how this book played out with Adrian. And once the author revealed the connection to her, I was even more eager. Of course, there was poetic justice with how those scenes played out too!!

The end of Legacy was good. The author was able to wrap up the storylines in a way that satisfied me as a reader. There were no storylines left open/hanging. There were no questions about specific events that happened in the book.


Legacy was a great romantic suspense novel. The plotline was great and the characters made the book. Plus, I didn’t figure out who The Poet was until the reveal which surprised me.

I would recommend Legacy to everyone over the age of 21. There is sex, but it is not graphic. There is somewhat graphic violence. At the beginning of the book, Adrian’s father attacked Adrian, her mother, and her mother’s best friend/nanny.

Hidden Fury (Annie Fitch Mysteries: Book 2) by Marie Flanigan

Hidden Fury (Annie Fitch Mysteries Book 2)
Hidden Fury by Marie Flanigan

Publisher: Red Adept Publishing

March 2nd, 2021

Genre: Romance, Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Series: Annie Fitch Mysteries

Exposed Fury—Book 1 (Review Here)

Hidden Fury—Book 2

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo

Format Read: unedited ARC

Received: from Author for honest review

Trigger Warnings: Mild violence, talk of past child abuse, speculation of incest/rape


Amazon Synopsis:

As a former cop turned private investigator, Annie Fitch hopes to never be in the line of fire again, so she’s expanded her business to include installing security systems. She’s thrilled to be hired by Preston Farr, a farmer with a vandalism problem on his family’s historic apple orchard and farm.

Preston’s roots in the community run deep. His family has held the same property in Leesburg, Virginia, since the 1700s. The two get to know each other over the course of the job. When Preston asks her out after the work is done, she accepts. After all, Annie’s on-again, off-again love affair with her childhood best friend, Ford, is currently off. Why should she mope until he decides it’s on again?

What she intended to be a fun, casual romp with Preston turns serious quickly when Annie’s newly installed security cameras record startling footage. Family secrets begin to unravel, echoing over two hundred years of heartache and violence.


First Line:

They say when you’re dying, you see a light at the end of a long, dark tunnel, but when I was dying, I didn’t see that.

Hidden Fury by Marie Flanigan

My Review:

I like a good mystery. I like it when the mystery I am reading sucks me in and keeps me on edge for the entire book. I also like it when the characters are relatable. Sometimes, when I read a mystery, the characters are a little over the top. While in some cases, it is what the book needs, in other cases, it is a distraction. Fortunately, for Hidden Fury, I was kept on edge, and the characters were relatable.

Hidden Fury is the 2nd book in the Annie Fitch Mystery series. It takes place several months after the events of Exposed Fury. Annie, a PI, has expanded her business to include installing security systems. One of her first customers is Preston Farr, the owner of a historic orchard. His business is being vandalized, and he wants to find out who it is. Annie and Preston have an immediate connection and start a romantic relationship shortly after the system is installed. But, there is more going on at Preston’s orchard than just vandalism. After a skeleton is found in an abandoned, historic church on Preston’s property, Annie is compelled to solve the mystery of who it was. Will she solve the mystery? Will her relationship with Preston survive the truth?

The plotline for Hidden Fury was medium-paced which was fine with me. I like medium-paced plotlines with mysteries. It gives the plotline time to evolve (and in this case, it did) and for me to become engrossed in the book.

There is one main storyline with several secondary storylines in Hidden Fury. The primary and secondary storylines were well written. What I enjoyed is when the main storyline ended (when Annie caught who was vandalizing Preston’s farm and why), the author then had the storyline for the church become the main storyline. I enjoyed it, and I enjoyed how the author did it!!

There were a couple of twists in the plotlines. One was revealed in the middle of the book. I can safely say with that twist; I saw it coming. The other twist I saw coming but was stilled surprised (and saddened) when it was revealed.

The characters in Hidden Fury were well written and had a depth to them. Annie, by far, was my favorite. I was a little disappointed that her brother and Ford weren’t featured in this book.

I wasn’t a huge fan of Preston. He came across as a very indecisive man. I also wouldn’t have doubted the story that my great-uncle was telling. But, I can understand why he acted the way he acted. He was a decent person outside of the drama. I hope that Annie and his relationship are still ongoing in book 3 (if there is one).

As I mentioned above, I thought the mystery was well written. The author did throw some red herrings out to try, and they did distract me, but in the end, I figured out both. I still enjoyed the lead-up to both reveals.

The end of Hidden Fury was terrific. The author wrapped up the storyline and plotline. She also left some wiggle room for a book 3.


Hidden Fury is a well-written mystery. Even though I was able to figure out both mysteries, I enjoyed the lead-up to the reveals. It had an excellent medium-paced storyline.

I would recommend Hidden Fury to anyone over the age of 21. There are flashbacks to how Annie got her brain injury. There is also a mention of child abuse, insect, rape resulting in pregnancy, murder, racism, and a church’s desecration. There are sex scenes but nothing explicit.

Stolen Gypsy by Elizabeth Horton-Newton

Stolen Gypsy by [Horton-Newton, Elizabeth]

4 Stars

Publisher:

Date of publication: April 15th, 2018

Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Suspense

Where you can find Stolen Gypsy: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

“Her parents are dead. The government has failed her. Now she doesn’t even know who she is. Terza Blackstone is rescued by handsome Irishman Tristan Devlin and that begins the search for her true identity. When everything you thought was yours has been stolen from you, there’s only one thing to do. Steal it all back. What do gypsies, the Witness Protection Program, a drug cartel, and a young girl running for her life have in common?” 


My Review:

I made the mistake of judging this book but not only the cover but the blurb. I thought that this was going to be your typical young adult/mystery/suspense. I was expecting the usual drama that goes along with a Young Adult novel. So, when I started reading Stolen Gypsy, I was shocked to be proven wrong. This book was nothing like what I thought.

The plot of Stolen Gypsy was simple and then got hard to follow as the book went on. Terza was orphaned when her parents were killed in a car accident. After another car accident, which takes the life of her temporary guardian/lawyer, Terza is rescued by Tristan. She realizes that everything she has been told is a lie. She also realizes that some powerful, dangerous forces want her. One group wants to reclaim her, another group wants to hide her, and the last group wants to kill her. Terza needs to figure out who she can trust and who she can’t. What will happen to Terza? Will she be able to live a normal life? Or will she be on the run for the rest of her life?

I couldn’t help but feel bad for Terza. Her life had been unsettled, and she never formed a real relationship with her parents. Because of that, I could understand why she didn’t feel grief when they were killed. I thought that she dealt with everything that leads up to Tristan, helping her well. But, then again, she didn’t have time to process what was happening to her. Even after that, she barely got time to process the information that was piled on her. I was in awe that she didn’t have a full-fledged breakdown. Because I know I would have. By the end of the book, she wanted everything to end. I didn’t blame her. I would have been tired of dodging cartels and gypsies at every turn. 

Tristan was a huge part of the book. I did think that he was going to have some secret identity as a spy or something. It was the way he acted at the beginning of the book. It was a let down when he was revealed to be an average guy. But that let down didn’t last long. I developed a massive crush on him by the end of the book. If only he were real…sigh.

Peter was also a considerable part of the book. I didn’t know what to make of him for most of it. I thought that he was working either for the gypsies or the cartel at one point in the book. I didn’t care for his backstory with Nora and Tristan, but it gave their relationship an edge that was needed.

I wasn’t a massive fan of a Terza/Tristan romance. She was in high school, and he was older. I know its a double standard for me, but I kept cringing whenever they would almost kiss or exchange significant looks. That’s where the author kept it. Except for one kiss, it was innocent.

The plotline had a few twists in it. A couple, I saw coming. But there were some that I didn’t see coming. Most of those happened at the end of the book, so that I won’t get into it. I will say that I was shocked.

The end of the book was satisfying. Not only because of what was implied but also because there were two alternate endings. I loved both of them!!


I would give Stolen Gypsy an Older Teen rating. There is no sex (there are two steamy kissing scenes). There is violence. There is language. I would recommend that no one under the age of 16 read this book.

I would reread Stolen Gypsy. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.

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


Have you read Stolen Gypsy?

What are your thoughts on it?

Let me know!!

In Her Shadow by Kristin Miller

In Her Shadow: A Novel by [Miller, Kristin]

3.5 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Ballantine Books

Date of publication: April 21st, 2020

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Women’s Fiction

Where you can find In Her Shadow: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

A pregnant young woman becomes obsessed with the disappearance of her lover’s wife–only to discover that she may be headed for the same fate–from New York Times bestselling author Kristin Miller.

Once his secretary, Colleen is now pregnant with Michael’s baby. When he brings her to his opulent estate, Ravenwood, she is abruptly thrust into a life of luxury she’s never known. But Colleen finds the immense house suffused with the memory of Michael’s beautiful wife, Joanna, who left months ago and who haunts her imagination. It quickly becomes apparent that there is little room for a new mistress of this house: The staff greets her with hostility, and there are entire wings and corridors from which she is prohibited to enter.

Then bones are unearthed in the grove across the street.

When Michael falls under the suspicion of the detectives investigating the case, the soon-to-be mother of his child finds herself hurled deeper into her boyfriend’s dark past–a past that threatens to upend all her dreams. But the terrifying secrets lurking in the shadows of Ravenwood pale in comparison to the drastic measures Colleen will take to stake a claim to her new life.

Inspired by Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, In Her Shadow is the chilling story of one woman’s desperate desire to be loved and the ghosts that get in her way–but only if she lets them.


First Line:

“Help.”

In Her Shadow by Kristin Miller

My Review:

When I read the blurb for In Her Shadow, I was intrigued. Seeing the comparisons to Rebecca caught my interest right away. The blurb deepened my interest in the book. It sounded perfect for me. Then I read it. While I liked some parts of the book, there were other parts that I didn’t like. Those parts did factor in my rating of the review.

In Her Shadow had a fast plotline, which I liked. The book takes place within a week of Colleen moving into Michael’s house, Ravenwood. There were no dropped characters and, more importantly, no dropped storylines. The flow of the book was ok. Because the book had several different POV’s (always in 3rd person), the flow did get interrupted. I felt that if the author kept to Colleen, Michael, and maybe Joanna’s POV, the book would have had a better flow to it. I did not need to read about the detective, Michael’s friends, the cook, or the maid’s POV.

I liked, and felt terrible, for Colleen during the first half of In Her Shadow. She was thrust into a world that she did not know about. She had to deal with a staff that treated her like she was invisible. Adding to that, she was pregnant, and it was high risk. I didn’t blame her for feeling that she was overshadowed in the first days there. I also didn’t blame her for becoming obsessed with Joanna and her legacy. But, saying that, I wasn’t expecting what she found out.

I didn’t like Michael. From the beginning, he came across as skeevy. I had my doubts about him from the start. I mean, who moves on less than a month after his wife disappears? And then gets his new girlfriend pregnant? That was a huge WTF for several people in the book and me. But, as skeevy as he was, I didn’t quite believe that he killed Joanna. He was a coward and a bit of a wuss, but he didn’t spark that “I’m a killer” vibe to me.

The secondary characters most definitely made the book. From the police detective to Joanna’s best frenemy to Michael’s best friend, those characters breathed life into the book when it needed it.

The mystery angle of the book (Joanna’s disappearance) was well written, but it held no mystery for me. I was able to guess what happened to her before the author got there. I also guessed certain specific details that occurred before they happened (if that makes sense).

The thriller angle of the book was very well written. The author was able to keep me on my toes during those scenes.

The end of In Her Shadow was intense. Considering the prologue, I was expecting the book to end a certain way. I was not expecting what happened to happen. But, as I mentioned in the above paragraph, there was a huge plot twist that took me by surprise. I was not expecting what was revealed. I also was not expecting the final chapter or the countdown. Does that mean another book is in the works?


I would give In Her Shadow 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 In Her Shadow. I would recommend it to family and friends.

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