7/10

#BlogTour & #BookReview
Perfect Score by Susan Roebuck
@suemonte @fayerogersuk

Synopsis:

Feckless, exasperating Alex Finch is a rich, handsome and talented singer/songwriter who longs for two things: a career as a professional rock singer, and to have his love for Sam Barrowdale reciprocated. But drifter Sam’s two aims are simply to earn enough money to pay his sister’s medical bills and to hide from the world his reading/writing and speech disability. At this time the word “dyslexia” is generally unknown so to most people he’s just a “retard”. From the severe knocks life’s dealt him, Sam’s developed a tough outer coating and he has no time for a spoilt, selfish guitar player.

Despite his defects, Alex’s love for Sam never wavers and when Sam unexpectedly disappears, Alex begins a somewhat bungling quest to find him, only to discover that Sam has a fearful enemy: Alex’s powerful and influential yet sociopathic uncle.

As Alex spirals downwards towards alcoholism, many questions need answering. Just why did Alex’s evil uncle adopt him at age eleven yet deny him any affection? And what’s the mystery behind Alex’s father’s death?

Both seem to face unbeatable odds. Are they doomed to follow separate paths forever?


Book Rating: 7/10

Romantic, reflective and heartwarming!

In this novel by Roebuck, she transports us back to the 1960s to the rugged terrain of the dusty prairies where life is hard; blood, sweat, and tears are the norm; and small-minded mentality surrounding politics, economics, special needs, and sexuality is rampant.

The characters are troubled, unique, and endearing. And the plot, which is ultimately about life, loss, survival, family, morality and love has a lot of subplots and tackles a lot of issues, including industrial pollution, pharmaceutical negligence, homelessness, abuse and sexual orientation.

This is a very complex, intriguing story that definitely has a “Brokeback Mountain” feel with that deep, enduring, underlying bond and love between the two main characters. And even though Roebuck did an exceptional job of writing the narration and dialogue true to the characters natures and time period, at times I did feel it caused a little disruption in my connection to the story and the overall flow.

About the Author

My first love is, of course, my husband, my second writing, and my third painting. And now I have time to be able to indulge in all three.

My debut novel, “Perfect Score” was published by Awe-Struck Publishing on Sept 21, 2010 and the paperback was launched on May 11 2011. In May 2017 Mundania Press re-released the ebook.

Perfect Score was an EPIC (Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition) finalist in the 2012 EPIC e-Book Awards in the Mainstream Category.

“Perfect Score” is set in mid West USA in the 1960s and is a story about family relationships, corruption, growing up, integrity, responsibility, and being a man of worth in a society of the worthless.

“Hewhay Hall” is my second novel, published by Etopia Press on April 20, 2012. It has won the EPIC (Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition) 2013 e-Book Award in the Horror Category (an EPPIE)

Thank you to Susan Roebuck and Faye Rogers for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                      

For more information on Susan Roebuck, visit her website at: susanroebuck.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @suemonte

 

#BookReview
You Will Pay by Lisa Jackson
@readlisajackson @KensingtonBooks

Synopsis:

In a fast-paced, brilliantly twisted novel of suspense from #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Jackson, the deadly secrets of a long-ago summer stir to life once more.

It starts as a prank a way to blow off steam after a long summer at Camp Horseshoe. Among the teen counselors, tensions and hormones are running high. No wonder the others agree when Jo-Beth Chancellor suggests they scare Monica O Neal a little or a lot. Monica has it coming, and no one will really get hurt. What could go wrong?

Everything.

Twenty years later, Lucas Dalton, a senior detective with the sheriff s department, is investigating the discovery of human remains in a cavern at what used to be Camp Horseshoe. Lucas knows the spot well. His father, a preacher, ran the camp, and Lucas worked there that infamous summer when two girls went missing. One is believed to have been killed by a convict on the loose. Monica O Neal is thought to have drowned and been washed out to sea.

Lucas knows he should step down from such a personal case. He s already jeopardized his career by removing evidence of his involvement. But maybe it s time to uncover the whole truth at last. That s why five former female counselors are coming back to the small Oregon town among them, Bernadette Warden, the woman Lucas has never forgotten. Each one knows something about that terrible night. Each promised not to tell. And as they reunite, a new horror unfolds. First come notes containing a personal memento and a simple, terrifying message: You will pay. Then, the murders begin.

It started years ago. But it will end here as a web of lust, greed, and betrayal is untangled to reveal a killer waiting to enact the perfect revenge.


Book Rating: 7/10

Dark, complex, and extremely suspenseful!

This is an action-packed novel that delves into how manipulative, oppressive and malicious teens can truly be and the extent to which they will go to try to fit in.

It is, ultimately, a story about secrets, friendship, coming-of-age, obsession, jealousy, adultery and murder.

The writing is well done. The characters are cunning, selfish and deceptive. And the plot is written in an alluring past/present, back-and-forth style that unravels piece-by piece all the personalities, relationships, motivations and actions within it.

When it comes to writing thrilling mysteries Lisa Jackson is one of the best. However, I do have to admit that even though I enjoyed this story and the surprise ending, I did find the characters to be somewhat unsympathetic and the plot to have a little too many twists and turns for me to fully connect and completely love it.

Thank you to NetGalley, especially Kensington Books, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                            

For more information on Lisa Jackson, visit her website at: lisajackson.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @readlisajackson

 

#BookReview
It’s Always the Husband by Michele Campbell
@MCampbellBooks @StMartinsPress

Synopsis:

Kate, Aubrey, and Jenny. They first met as college roommates and soon became inseparable, even though they are as different as three women can be. Twenty years later, one of them is standing at the edge of a bridge . . and someone else is urging her to jump.

How did things come to this?

As the novel cuts back and forth between their college years and their adult years, you see the exact reasons why these women love and hate each other—but can feelings that strong lead to murder? Or will everyone assume, as is often the case, that it’s always the husband?


Book Rating: 7/10

Complex, intriguing, and gloomy!

This is a character-driven novel that delves into just how much our friendships and relationships can define us and highlights just how parasitic some of them can really be.

The writing is well done. The characters are selfish, scheming and deceptive. And although the plot in the first half of the novel is a little slow as the author delves deeply into the different personalities and motivations of each character, the second half is definitely much more exciting, intense and action-packed with as many suspects as motives and an ending with a contemplative twist.

This is ultimately a novel about friendship, secrets, manipulation, jealousy, obsession, adultery and murder and a good debut for Campbell. In fact, some readers will love the dark, moody feel of the story and the cast of characters with no redeeming qualities between them. Unfortunately for me, the lack of characters with any sort of moral or ethical conscience made it hard to connect and left me a little indifferent of the story overall.

About the Author:

Michele Campbell is a graduate of Harvard College and Stanford Law School and a former federal prosecutor in New York City who specialized in international narcotics and gang cases.

A while back, she said goodbye to her big-city legal career and moved with her husband and two children to an idyllic New England college town a lot like Belle River in IT’S ALWAYS THE HUSBAND. Since then, she has spent her time teaching criminal and constitutional law and writing novels.

She’s had many close female friends, a few frenemies, and only one husband, who – to the best of her knowledge – has never tried to kill her.

 

Thank you to NetGalley, especially St. Martin’s Press, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This book is due to be published on May 16, 2017.

Pick up a copy of this novel from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                            

For more information on Michele Campbell, visit her website at: MicheleCampbellBooks.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @MCampbellBooks

#BookReview & #BookGiveaway
Red Clover Inn by Carla Neggers
@CarlaNeggers @HarlequinBooks

Synopsis:

New York Times bestselling author Carla Neggers delivers an irresistible story about love, family and finding a place to call home..

Marine archaeologist Charlotte Bennett is no stranger to risk, but her dives into sunken wreckage are always meticulously planned. However, being the maid of honor in her cousin Samantha’s English wedding gives her a new perspective on her life as a nomad who’s given up on romance altogether. Though an encounter with roguish wedding guest Greg Rawlings leaves her unsettled, the other people she meets make a trip to the tranquil town of Knights Bridge, Massachusetts, enticing. Acting on impulse, Charlotte offers to house-sit at Red Clover Inn while Sam and Justin Sloan are away on their honeymoon.

The quaint inn isn’t open to the public yet and Charlotte will have quiet time to plan her next project. It might also give her a chance to see how her cousin found love and a sense of family. But the peace is immediately disrupted when Greg shows up at the inn. The Diplomatic Security Service agent lives a dangerous life, and he, too, wants to clear his head before his next assignment. Juggling work, raising his two teenage children and nursing a wounded heart has left him jaded, and the last thing he expects is to find himself falling for the willful Charlotte. As the attraction between them flares, Charlotte realizes she might be in too deep. And each of them must decide if they can put love first before it’s too late.


Book Rating: 7/10

Lighthearted, easy and sweet!

In this latest novel in the Swift River Valley series Neggers once again takes us back to Knights Bridge with its beautiful landscape, intriguing inn and small-town charm.

The writing is straightforward. The characters are strong, dependable and pensive. And the plot which seems to get a little bogged down in the first half of the story with information into all the characters and relationships between them definitely picks up in the second half and is quite compelling, mysterious, engaging and romantic. 

Overall this is an enjoyable, entertaining read and fans of Carla Neggers and the Swift River Valley series will love not only this new addition to the Bennett and Sloan clan but will really appreciate the opportunity to catch up with some of the beloved characters from previous novels.

Thank you to Harlequin Books for providing me with not only a copy in exchange for an honest review but a copy to give away (please see below).

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                            

For more information on Carla Neggers visit her website at: carlaneggers.com

or on Twitter at: @CarlaNeggers

 

International Giveaway

And now thanks to Harlequin Books, one lucky reader of What’s Better Than Books? will receive a paperback copy of Red Clover Inn by Carla Neggers as well as a Red Clover Inn Door Hanger. 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

#BookReview
No Easy Target by Iris Johansen
@Iris_Johansen @StMartinsPress

Synopsis:

New York Times bestselling author Iris Johansen returns with another thriller, No Easy Target

Margaret Douglas has worked hard to put her painful past behind her. Raised off the grid in an abusive home, her only escape was the nearby forest where she sought refuge whenever she could. There, in the peaceful woods, she discovered a strange gift: the ability to understand animals and to communicate with them. And so those creatures became her only friends, her only joy during a desolate childhood. Now Margaret wants nothing more than to live a quiet life, close to the animals and under the radar. But her abilities have not gone unnoticed and there are those who would use them for their own purposes. Determined not to be a pawn in anyone’s game, every time someone gets too close, Margaret uproots her life and outruns them.

When John Lassiter breaks into Margaret’s apartment, she vanishes again, but Lassiter has good reason to be persistent. As a CIA operative, he owes his life to his men , one of whom is being held captive by an unrelenting enemy—an enemy who has set his sights on Margaret. Which means that Lassiter must control her to use her as bait.

With danger in hot pursuit, Margaret finds herself matching wits with a man who refuses to stop or be stopped. Turning from the hunted to the hunter, Margaret must use everything she has ever learned to not only survive, but to defeat a great evil. And to prove once and for all that she’s no easy target.


Book Rating: 7/10

Suspenseful, macabre and entertaining!

This is an intense, often disturbing, romantic thriller that reminds us of the dark, despicable evil that exists in the criminal underworld and takes us on a journey into the jungles of Colombia and a world filled with sadism, violence, murder, revenge, lust and a little supernatural.

The writing is good. The main character, Margaret, is intelligent, determined, and unique, and the other characters are a mix of despicable villains, a handsome hero and an adorable dog.

Fans of Johansen will not be disappointed with this latest outing which utilizes her trademark strong, female protagonist and straightforward storyline and will be excited to finally get a better understanding of the Margaret Douglas character we’ve often seen a glimpse of in the Eve Duncan series.

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press, NetGalley and Goodreads Giveaways for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This book is due to be published on April 25, 2017.

Pick up a copy of this story from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                          

For more information on Iris Johansen visit her website at: irisjohansen.com

or follow her on Twitter at@Iris_Johansen

#BookReview
White Sand, Blue Sea by Anita Hughes
@hughesanita @StMartinsPress

Synopsis:

Olivia Miller is standing on the porch of her mother and stepfather’s plantation style villa in St. Barts. They have been coming here every April for years but she is always thrilled to see the horseshoe shaped bay of Gustavia and white sand of Gouverneur’s Beach. This trip should be particularly exciting because she is celebrating her twenty-fifth birthday and hoping that Finn, her boyfriend of four years, will propose.

The only person who won’t be here is her father, Sebastian, who she hasn’t seen in twenty years. He’s a well-known artist and crisscrosses the globe, painting and living in exotic locations like Kenya and China. When Sebastian walks unexpectedly walks through the door and floats back into Olivia’s life like a piece of bad driftwood she never knew she wanted, she starts to wondering if her world is too narrow. She questions the dreams and the relationship she’s always thought she wanted. But there seems to be more to the story than an innocent fatherly visit, and Olivia must decide if love is more important than truth.

Set on St. Barts, the jewel of the Caribbean, WHITE SAND, BLUE SEA is a heartwarming story about romance and adventure, and most importantly, about knowing yourself, and what makes you happy.


Book Rating: 7/10

Charming, engaging and lighthearted!

In this new novel by Hughes we are transported to the beautiful island of St. Barts complete with pristine beaches, exquisite restaurants, designer boutiques, and million-dollar yachts and are swept into a story that delves into the complexities of maternal, paternal and romantic relationships and highlights the importance of honesty and communication.

The writing is descriptive and smooth. The characters are an appealing variety of young and mature; unsure and grounded; stable and peripatetic; loved and secure. And the plot is a sweet journey about discovering oneself, appreciating what you have, letting go of the past and the power of unconditional love.

Overall, this is an enjoyable, easy read that is a nice choice for a relaxing, sunny afternoon.

About the Author

ANITA HUGHES is the author of Monarch Beach, Market Street, Lake Como, French Coast, Rome in Love, Island in the Sea, Santorini Sunsets, and Christmas in Paris. She attended UC Berkeley’s Masters in Creative Writing Program, and lives in Dana Point, California where she is at work on her next novel. 

Thank you to NetGalley, especially St. Martin’s Press, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This book is due to be published on April 11, 2017. 

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                          

For more information on Anita Hughes, visit her website at: anitahughesbooks.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @hughesanita

#BookReview
Most Dangerous Place by James Grippando
@James_Grippando

Synopsis:

Defending a woman accused of murdering the man who sexually assaulted her, Miami lawyer Jack Swyteck must uncover where the truth lies between innocence, vengeance, and justice in this spellbinding tale of suspense—based on shocking true-life events—from the New York Times bestselling author of Gone Again.

According to the FBI, the most dangerous place for a woman between the ages of twenty and thirty is in a relationship with a man. Those statistics become all too personal when Jack Swyteck takes on a new client tied to his past.

It begins at the airport, where Jack is waiting to meet his old high school buddy, Keith Ingraham, a high-powered banker based in Hong Kong, coming to Miami for his young daughter’s surgery. But their long-awaited reunion is abruptly derailed when the police arrest Keith’s wife, Isabelle, in the terminal, accusing her of conspiring to kill the man who raped her in college. Jack quickly agrees to represent Isa, but soon discovers that to see justice done, he must separate truth from lies—an undertaking that proves more complicated than the seasoned attorney expects.

Inspired by an actual case involving a victim of sexual assault sent to prison for the death of her attacker, James Grippando’s twisty thriller brilliantly explores the fine line between victim and perpetrator, innocence and guilt, and cold-blooded revenge and rightful retribution.


Book Rating: 7/10

Suspenseful, entertaining and complex!

In this latest novel by Grippando, Jack is back and this time he finds himself in a case rife with lies and deception where lives hang in the balance and relationships are tested to the max.

The writing is crisp. The characters are intelligent, resolute and willful. And the plot is an action-packed legal thriller about family dynamics, dark secrets, abuse and revenge.

Overall, I would have to say that this is definitely an intriguing, easy read that lovers of courtroom drama will certainly enjoy.

Thank you to Edelweiss, especially HarperCollins, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This book is due to be published on February 21, 2017.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CanadaIndigoKoboBook Depository

For more information on James Grippando, visit his website at: jamesgrippando.com

or follow him on Twitter at: @James_Grippando

#BookReview – Seconds to Sunrise by Nico Rosso @Nico_Rosso @CarinaPress

Synopsis:

Readers of Maya Banks’s KGI series will love the adrenaline-fueled, pulse-pounding suspense of Nico Rosso’s SECONDS TO SUNRISE

She thought she’d lost everything…

April Banks thought her website crashing was just a glitch. Starting the online forum for war widows has been the only thing keeping her together since her husband died, and she won’t let anything interfere with her work. But this is no technical malfunction—cyberterrorists have targeted the information locked in April’s website and they’ll do anything to get it. Even if that means removing April. Permanently.

He’ll make them pay…

Automatik gave former SAS agent James Sant a way to protect the innocent again. He thinks life in the shadows is all he deserves…until he meets his newest assignment. April is everything James has never let himself want and he knows she’s already had too much heartbreak in her life to risk feeling for him. But keeping things professional while hunting the hackers with the gorgeous widow is going to be the hardest job he’s ever taken on.


Book Rating: 7/10

Intriguing, suspenseful and deliciously steamy!

This is the third book in the Black Ops: Automatic series, and once again Nico Rosso has written a novel full of danger, deception, mystery, attraction, chemistry, dirty talk and romance.

The writing is clear and fluent. The characters are intelligent, strong, damaged and lonely. And although the plot in the first half of the novel is a little slow, the second half is definitely more exciting, compelling and action packed.

Overall, I would have to say that this is a fun, easy read that is certainly enjoyable and entertaining.

Thank you to NetGalley, especially Carina Press, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This book is due to be published on January 16, 2017. 

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from the following links.

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CanadaIndigoKoboB&N

For more information on Nico Rosso, visit his website at: nicorosso.com

or follow him on Twitter at: @Nico_Rosso

 

Book Review: Pushing Up Daisies by M.C. Beaton

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The Official Synopsis:

When Agatha Raisin left behind her PR business in London, she fulfilled her dream of settling in the cozy British Cotswolds where she began a successful private detective agency. Unfortunately, the village she lives in is about to get a little less cozy. Lord Bellington, a wealthy land developer, wants to turn the community garden into a housing estate. When Agatha and her friend Sir Charles Fraith attempt to convince Lord Bellington to abandon his plans he scoffs: “Do you think I give a damn about those pesky villagers?” So when Agatha finds his obituary in the newspaper two weeks later, it’s no surprise that some in town are feeling celebratory.

The villagers are relieved to learn that Bellington’s son and heir, Damian, has no interest in continuing his father’s development plans. But the police are definitely interested in him―as suspect number one. His father’s death, it seems, was no accident. But when Damian hires Agatha to find the real killer, she finds no shortage of suspects. The good news is that a handsome retired detective named Gerald has recently moved to town. Too bad he was seen kissing another newcomer. But when she is also found murdered, Gerald is eager to help Agatha with the case. Agatha, Gerald, and her team of detectives must untangle a web of contempt in order to uncover a killer’s identity. 


Book Rating: 7/10

Humorous, charming, and suspenseful.

This is a quick, easy read full of familial dysfunction, love entanglements, secrets, lies, greed, and murder.

The plot develops nicely and is full of suspects, clues, mishaps and mayhem. The setting is the quaint villages and towns found in the English countryside, complete with local pubs and manor homes. And the usual cast of flawed, multi-layered characters are back for another round of detection and investigation.

This is the twenty-seventh book in the Agatha Raisin series, and even though it can be read as a standalone novel, you may want to read some of the earlier books in the series to fully appreciate some of the continuing storylines and character development.

Thank you to NetGalley, especially St. Martin’s Press, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This book is due to be published on September 20, 2016. 

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CanadaChapters/IndigoBook Depository

For more information on M.C. Beaton, visit her website at: mcbeaton.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @mc_beaton

Book Review: Ganga Jamuna by Sunita Lad Bhamray

Cover - Ganga Jamuna

The Official Synopsis:

A zealous single mother must travel from her home in Nepal to Singapore in order to access an experimental surgery that could save her conjoined twins in this empowering novel of love and survival. 

Abani has so far lived a life of quiet resolve. Admired by strangers for her striking beauty and soft-spoken demeanour, she has pressed on without complaint through the challenges life has thrown at her growing up in a poor family. After she learns she is pregnant with conjoined twins, Abani faces an even greater trial: the only hope she has of saving the lives of both her children is a revolutionary new surgery performed exclusively in Singapore. With only the few supplies she can carry – and the advice and support of her friends – Abani begins the impossible passage across the Indian continent: a mother’s mission to save her unborn children.


 Book Rating: 7/10

“The young paediatric assistant, who was around, moved closer and within minutes he removed the blankets that covered the infants. Once the blankets were removed, they awakened and began to move their limbs about peculiarly. Their heads remained fastened to each other and the spectacle before her was devoid of normalcy. As she watched, she could hear Dr. Prasad’s voice in the background that slowly began to fade. “They are doing well. What I wanted to tell you the other day is that conjoined twins are rare.”

This is a poignant story that takes us on a journey of Abani’s life, from her first love as a young girl, through loss, heartbreak, single motherhood, and raising conjoined twins.

The characters are strong, courageous and resilient. The plot is unique and interesting. And the writing is atmospheric and descriptive, although I did find there were some instances when the syntax slightly disrupted the fluidity.

Overall, however, this is a bittersweet novel that introduces us to the emotional, physical, and medical difficulties involved with the birth of conjoined twins, and it certainly reminds us that life is truly a blessing.

Thank you to Authoright for providing me with a copy of this story in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author

Sunita Lad Bhamray pic

Sunita Lad Bhamray is an author and educator living in Singapore with her husband and two children. After earning her graduate degree and enjoying a long and rewarding career teaching internationally, Lad Bhamray now devotes her time to writing. Ganga Jamuna is her third book; her first, Triumphs on the Turf, released in 2011, was about horse racing in India. It was followed by Grandma Lim’s Persimmons, a storybook for children, in 2013.

To purchase this novel, please visit your favourite retailer or the following link.

Amazon  

And for more information on Sunita Lad Bhamray, visit her website at: sunitaladbhamray.com

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