By Rating

#BookReview
White Bodies by Jane Robins
@alfresca @SimonSchusterCA

Synopsis:

This chilling psychological suspense novel–think Strangers on a Train for the modern age–explores the dark side of love and the unbreakable ties that bind two sisters together.

Felix and Tilda seem like the perfect couple: young and in love, a financier and a beautiful up-and-coming starlet. But behind their flawless facade, not everything is as it seems.

Callie, Tilda’s unassuming twin, has watched her sister visibly shrink under Felix’s domineering love. She has looked on silently as Tilda stopped working, nearly stopped eating, and turned into a neat freak, with mugs wrapped in Saran Wrap and suspicious syringes hidden in the bathroom trash. She knows about Felix’s uncontrollable rages, and has seen the bruises on the white skin of her sister’s arms.

Worried about the psychological hold that Felix seems to have over Tilda, Callie joins an Internet support group for victims of abuse and their friends. However, things spiral out of control and she starts to doubt her own judgment when one of her new acquaintances is killed by an abusive man. And then suddenly Felix dies–or was he murdered?

A page-turning work of suspense that announces a stunning new voice in fiction, White Bodies will change the way you think about obsession, love, and the violence we inflict on one another–and ourselves.


Book Rating: 7.5/10

Menacing, dark, and incredibly eerie!

White Bodies is a gritty, gripping, character-driven novel that delves into the dynamic relationship between sister’s, especially twins, and highlights that we only see what people want to show us and even then we only see what we want to see.

The writing is fluid and clear. The characters are multilayered, deceptive, and unstable. And the plot uses a past/present, back-and-forth style to create suspense and tension as it subtly unravels the relationships, histories, personalities, and motivations within it.

White Bodies is ultimately a chilling psychological thriller about family, secrets, obsession, jealousy, mental illness, manipulation, obsession, and murder and is a wonderful debut for Robins in this genre. 

 

About the Author

Photograph by Mat Smith

Jane Robins began her career as a journalist with The EconomistThe Independent, and the BBC. She has made a specialty of writing historical true crime and has a particular interest in the history of forensics. She has published three books of nonfiction in the UK, Rebel Queen (Simon & Schuster, 2006), The Magnificent Spilsbury (John Murray, 2010), and The Curious Habits of Doctor Adams (John Murray, 2013). More recently, she has been a Fellow at the Royal Literary Fund. 

 

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada and Goodreads Giveaways for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This novel is available now.

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

                                            

For more information on Jane Robins follow her on Twitter at: @alfresca

#BookReview
Cold Blood by Robert Bryndza
@RobertBryndza @bookouture

Synopsis:

She fell in love with a killer, now she’s one too.

The suitcase was badly rusted, and took Erika several attempts, but it yielded and sagged open as she unzipped it. Nothing could prepare her for what she would find inside…

When a battered suitcase containing the dismembered body of a young man washes up on the shore of the river Thames, Detective Erika Foster is shocked. She’s worked on some terrifying cases but never seen anything like this before.

As Erika and her team set to work, she makes the link with another victim – the body of a young woman dumped in an identical suitcase two weeks ago.

Erika quickly realises she’s on the trail of a serial killer who’s already made their next move. Yet just as Erika starts to make headway with the investigation, she is the victim of a brutal attack.

But nothing will stop Erika. As the body count rises, the twin daughters of her colleague Commander Marsh are abducted, and the stakes are higher than ever before. Can Erika save the lives of two innocent children before it’s too late? She’s running out of time and about to make a disturbing discovery…there’s more than one killer.


Book Rating: 10/10

Intricate, riveting, and creepy!

Cold Blood is an engrossing, chilling police procedural that highlights just how easily some people can be swayed and manipulated into doing the most horrific things and reminds us that desperate people will do almost anything, at any cost to protect themselves.

The writing is bold and crisp. The characters are resilient, impulsive, and troubled. And the plot, told from differing points-of-view, keeps you on the edge of your seat from start to finish as it whips you through well-timed twists, unforeseen surprises, deception, abuse, violence, corruption, and murder.

Overall, Cold Blood is a gripping, highly entertaining, harrowing thriller that proves once again Bryndza is a talented, natural storyteller with a vivid imagination.

Cold Blood is the fifth novel in the Erika Foster series and all I can say is if you’re not already reading this series, you should be!

If you haven’t had a chance to read my reviews of the previous novels in the “Detective Erika Foster” series be sure to check them out here:

 

About the Author:

Robert Bryndza is the author of the international #1 bestseller The Girl in the Ice, which is the first in his Detective Erika Foster series.

The Night Stalker, Dark Water and Last Breath are the second, third, and fourth books in the series, and the fifth book, Cold Blood is available now.

Robert’s books have sold over 2 million copies and have been translated into 27 languages.

In addition to writing crime fiction, Robert has published a bestselling series of romantic comedy novels. He is British and lives in Slovakia.

 

Thank you to NetGalley, Bookouture and Robert Bryndza 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 Robert Bryndza, visit his website at: robertbryndza.com

or follow him on Twitter at: @RobertBryndza

 

#BookReview
The Last Move by Mary Burton
@MaryBurtonBooks @JoanSchulhafer

Synopsis:

In this gripping stand-alone from bestselling author Mary Burton, an FBI agent must catch a copycat killer. The only difference this time: she’s the final victim.

Catching monsters helps FBI agent Kate Hayden keep her nightmares at bay. Now an urgent call brings her back to San Antonio, the scene of her violent past. A brutal new murder shows hallmarks of a serial killer nicknamed the Samaritan. Tricky part is, Kate already caught him.

Either Kate made a deadly error, or she’s got a copycat on her hands. Paired with homicide detective Theo Mazur, she quickly realizes this murder is more twisted than it first appeared. Then a second body is found, the mode of death identical to a different case that Kate thought she’d put behind her.

Now Kate and Detective Mazur aren’t just working a homicide; the investigative pair is facing a formidable enemy who knows Kate intimately. While Mazur is personally trying to protect Kate, the closer they are drawn to the killer, the clearer it becomes that in this terrifying game, there is only one rule: don’t believe everything you see…


Book Rating: 9/10

Disturbing, engrossing, and adrenaline pumping!

The Last Move, the latest novel by Burton, is a well-paced thrill ride featuring the tenacious and tough FBI agent, Kate, and the intelligent, patient homicide detective, Theo, as they join forces to hunt a serial killer with a penchant for reenacting the most heinous of crimes.

The writing is taut and tight. The characterization is well done. And the plot is a captivating police procedural with twists, turns, red herrings, family drama, deception, vengeance, depravity, murder and a smidgen of romance.

I have yet to pick up a Mary Burton book that wasn’t an entertaining, eerie, romantic mystery with exceptionally intriguing characters and The Last Move is no exception. And even though this novel is being billed as a standalone I sure hope we get to see Hayden and Mazur on another case sometime down the road.

If you haven’t had a chance to check out any of my reviews for The Forgotten Files series by Burton you can find them here:

 

Thank you to Mary Burton and Joan Schulhafer Publishing for providing me with a copy of this story 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 Mary Burton, visit her website at: maryburton.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @MaryBurtonBooks

#BookReview
The Trick by Emanuel Bergmann
@SimonSchusterCA @simonschuster

Synopsis:

Sweeping between Prague during World War II and modern-day Los Angeles, this deeply moving debut follows a young Jewish man in 1934 who falls in love and joins the circus as the country descends into war. Decades later, a young boy seeks out the now cynical, elderly magician in the hopes that his spells might keep his family together.

Prague, 1934: The fifteen-year-old rabbi s son Moshe Goldenhirsch marvels at the legendary circus magician known as the Half-Moon Man. Unexpectedly, he falls madly in love with the magician’s delightful assistant, spurring him to run away from home to join the circus, which is slowly making its way to Germany as war looms on the horizon. Soon, he becomes a world-renowned magician known as the Great Zabbatini, even sought after by Adolf Hitler. But when Moshe is discovered to be a Jew, only his special talent can save him from perishing in a concentration camp.

Los Angeles, 2007: Ten-year-old Max Cohn is convinced that magic can bring his estranged parents back together before they divorce. So one night he climbs out of his bedroom window in search of the Great Zabbatini, certain this powerful magician has the power to reunite his family.


Book Rating: 7.5/10

Quirky, sweet, and humorous!

The Trick is set in both 1930s Prague and twenty-first century Los Angeles and centres around two main characters. Moshe Goldenhirsch, or more famously known as the great Zabbatini, a Jewish survivor of WWII who learned from a very early age the true power of magic. And Max Cohn, a brave, determined 10-year-old on a mission to uncover the love spell he’s confident will fix his parent’s marital woes.

The prose is witty and emotive. The characters are stubborn, unique, and endearing. And the plot is a captivating tale of life, love, heartbreak, family, friendship, and survival.

The Trick, overall, is a well-written, amusing story that ultimately reminds us that magic is a set of tricks, tools or suggestions that give us the freedom to see what we want to see and believe what we want to believe.

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This book is available September 19, 2017.

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

                                            

 

#BookReview
The Bakersville Dozen by Kristina McBride
@McBrideKristina @skyponypress

Synopsis:

You have four days to locate five treasured trophies. Break the rules and you all die. Happy hunting!

Back in September, the town of Bakersville, Ohio made national news when a video went viral featuring thirteen of the high school’s elite in compromising positions. Now it’s May, and every month since the “Bakersville Dozen” made their infamous appearance on the national stage, one girl has gone missing. Officials are no closer to identifying the criminal.

Bailey “Like a Virgin” Holzman is getting really fed up with the scrutiny. She just wants to enjoy the rest of her senior year and have an epic summer before heading off to college. So when she discovers a note in her locker on the last day of school inviting her on a scavenger hunt, she thinks it’s just a sweet surprise from her boyfriend trying to cheer her up.

But following the clue leads her, instead, to the first official casualty. And another sinister envelope. The killer is close, and it could be anyone. Even the people Bailey’s always trusted most—her best friend, her perfect boyfriend, or the boy-next-door she’s always pined for.

With the clock ticking, she faces a terrifying choice: play the game by the killer’s rules—follow the clues, tell no one, and no cops—for a chance to save the rest of the missing girls, or risk becoming the next grisly victim.


Book Rating: 8/10

Mysterious, unpredictable, and sinister!

The Bakersville Dozen is a young adult novel that takes us to the small town of Bakersville, Ohio where five popular, senior girls have one-by-one gone missing after being featured in a libelous video with eight of their peers.

The characters are nervous, bold, and at times impetuous. The writing is edgy and taut. And the plot is filled with an abundance of teenage drama, secrets, danger, jealousy, murder, red herrings, tension, and romance.

Overall, The Bakersville Dozen is a well-paced, suspenseful YA whodunit that reminds me of those classic 90s teen thrillers like Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer that had you thinking “why would you do that?” while you simultaneously gripped the edge of your seat. It’s captivating, entertaining and has an ending you definitely won’t see coming.

If you haven’t had a chance already to check out my review for A Million Times Goodnight by McBride you can find it here:

 

About the Author:

Kristina McBride is a former high school English teacher and yearbook advisor, as well as an adjunct professor at Antioch University Midwest and Wright State University. She dreamed of being a published author since she lived across the street from a library as a kid. She is the author of two previous novels, The Tension of Opposites and One Moment. She lives in Centerville, Ohio with her husband and two young children.

 

 

Thank you to Sky Pony Press for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This novel is available now.

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

                                            

For more information on Kristina McBride, visit her website at: kristinamcbride.com

or follow her on twitter at: @McBrideKristina

#BookReview
Temporary by Sarina Bowen & Sarah Mayberry
@SarinaBowen @MayberrySarah @ninabocci

Synopsis:

The most beautiful man I’ve ever seen is the one who can ruin everything…

The first time I lay eyes on Callan Walker, I know he’ll be trouble. With his smug grin, hot Aussie accent and thousand dollar shoes, he’s just the kind of rich guy who always gets what he wants.

And he wants two things: a night of sin, and my cooperation as he outmaneuvers his powerful mother to take control of his uncle’s estate.

I can’t afford either one. I’m the only thing standing between my little sister and the foster care system. He may have money and charm on his side, but I have something even more powerful — pure desperation. This temp job at his mother’s company can become a full-time job for me. It has to.

But when Callan’s eyes rake over my body, sometimes I forget my obligations. His piercing gaze finds the fun, optimistic girl I used to be and not the tired person I’ve become.

And it works–if only for a moment. Our night together was a mistake. I can’t afford to get sucked into his high-powered family’s treachery. But the closer I get to Callan, the more layers I find beneath those expensive clothes. Though I can’t forget this is temporary. He’s temporary. I have too much to lose.

Too bad my foolish heart didn’t get the memo…


Book Rating: 8/10

Witty, charming, and delightfully refreshing!

Temporary is a passionate tale that takes us into the lives of two main characters. Grace, a young temp who is hardworking, resilient and focused on creating a better life for herself and her sister; and Callan, a sexy, Aussie playboy who may just prove he’s much more loyal, honourable, and grounded than his reputation leads you to perceive.

The prose is humorous and fluid. The main characters are genuine, endearing, and supportive. And the plot sweeps you away into a modern fairytale filled with familial drama, palpable tension, sizzling chemistry, rags, riches, loss, heartbreak, romance, and of course true love.

Temporary is a light, fun, thoroughly entertaining novel with great characterization, snappy dialogue and a happy-ever-after ending that will make you swoon. I have yet to pick up a book by Sarina Bowen that I didn’t enjoy, and this new collaboration with Mayberry is nothing short of magic.

Thank you to Nina Bocci, Sarina Bowen and Sarah Mayberry for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Temporary is available now.

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

                                         

For more information on Sarina Bowen, visit her website at: sarinabowen.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @SarinaBowen

For more information on Sarah Mayberry, visit her website at: sarahmayberry.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @MayberrySarah

 

#BookReview
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
@jesmimi @SimonSchusterCA

Synopsis:

A searing and profound Southern odyssey by National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward.

In Jesmyn Ward’s first novel since her National Book Award winning Salvage the Bones, this singular American writer brings the archetypal road novel into rural twenty-first-century America. Drawing on Morrison and Faulkner, The Odyssey and the Old Testament, Ward gives us an epochal story, a journey through Mississippi’s past and present that is both an intimate portrait of a family and an epic tale of hope and struggle. Ward is a major American writer, multiply awarded and universally lauded, and in Sing, Unburied, Sing she is at the height of her powers.

Jojo and his toddler sister, Kayla, live with their grandparents, Mam and Pop, and the occasional presence of their drug-addicted mother, Leonie, on a farm on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. Leonie is simultaneously tormented and comforted by visions of her dead brother, which only come to her when she’s high; Mam is dying of cancer; and quiet, steady Pop tries to run the household and teach Jojo how to be a man. When the white father of Leonie’s children is released from prison, she packs her kids and a friend into her car and sets out across the state for Parchman farm, the Mississippi State Penitentiary, on a journey rife with danger and promise.

Sing, Unburied, Sing grapples with the ugly truths at the heart of the American story and the power, and limitations, of the bonds of family. Rich with Ward’s distinctive, musical language, Sing, Unburied, Sing is a majestic new work and an essential contribution to American literature.


Book Rating: 8.5/10

Haunting, atmospheric, and powerful!

Sing, Unburied, Sing is an incredibly moving novel about life in small-town Mississippi where life is constantly inflicted by ravishing hurricanes, enduring poverty, rampant opioid availability, and racial prejudices.

The prose is eloquent and descriptive. The characters are tormented, fragile, and raw. And the plot takes us on a heart-wrenching rollercoaster ride full of love, violence, hatred, addiction, biracial tension, incarceration, abandonment, death, loss and the spirit world beyond. 

Sing, Unburied, Sing is ultimately a poetic tale woven with a supernatural thread that reminds us that strength, compassion, and kindness is the base of humanity that transcends skin colour, socioeconomic status, and the deepest, darkest realities.

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This novel is available now.

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

                                            

For more information on Jesmyn Ward visit her website at: jesmimi.blogspot.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @jesmimi

#BookReview
The Quarterback by Mackenzie Blair
@RiptideBooks

Synopsis:

Matt Lancaster is the star quarterback at Bodine College, a small Southern Division II school with an ultra-conservative Dean of Athletics. Matt is also very much in the closet, and he thinks he’s kept his secret well hidden. Until his best friends take him to a happy endings massage parlor and request a male masseuse for him.

In walks Trevor Kim, a gorgeous, pierced, tattooed fellow Bodine student who does massages—without happy endings—to pay for school after his family kicked him out for being gay. Trevor takes one look at Matt and breaks all his own rules about mixing business with pleasure.

Matt needs to keep his scholarship, win the National Championship, and survive his asshole father. Instead, he falls in love. Trevor needs to accept that the football god is meant to end up with him rather than a perky cheerleader. It’s time for a happy ever after for both of them.


Book Rating: 8/10

Sexy, sassy, and heartwarming!

The Quarterback is a provocative sports romance about college life, embracing one’s sexuality, and having the strength to follow one’s heart regardless of the consequences.

The characters are handsome, charming, troubled and flawed. The writing is erotic and smooth. And the plot is an alluring tale full of sexual innuendoes, flirty banter, blazing chemistry, familial drama, friendship, support, acceptance, and love.

The Quarterback is an entertaining, provocative debut by Blair and although at times there are a few too many stereotypical references she does an excellent job of touching on the challenges, prejudices, and ignorance faced by those in the LGBTQIA community.

Thank you to NetGalley, especially Riptide Publishing, 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 the following links.

                                

For more information on Mackenzie Blair, visit her website at: http://www.goodreads.com/mackenzieblair

#BookReview
Gone Astray by Michelle Davies
@M_Davieswrites @PGCBooks

Synopsis:

What if someone thinks they deserve their life more than you?

When a Lesley Kinnock buys a lottery ticket on a whim, it changes her life more than she could have imagined. . .

Lesley and her husband Mack are the sudden winners of a £15 million EuroMillions jackpot. They move with their 15-year-old daughter Rosie to an exclusive gated estate in Buckinghamshire, leaving behind their ordinary lives – and friends – as they are catapulted into wealth beyond their wildest dreams.

But it soon turns into their darkest nightmare when, one beautiful spring afternoon, Lesley returns to their house to find it empty: their daughter Rosie is gone.

DC Maggie Neville is assigned to be Family Liaison Officer to Lesley and Mack, supporting them while quietly trying to investigate the family. And she has a crisis threatening her own life – a secret from the past that could shatter everything she’s worked so hard to build.

As Lesley and Maggie desperately try to find Rosie, their fates hurtle together on a collision course that threatens to end in tragedy . . .

Money can’t buy you happiness.
The truth could hurt more than a lie.
One moment really can change your life forever.


Book Rating: 8.5/10

Suspenseful, absorbing, and skillfully executed!

Gone Astray is a well-paced psychological thriller set in Buckinghamshire, England that is told from multiple perspectives; Lesley, Rosie’s loving, distraught mother who is not entirely comfortable with her new wealth; Maggie, the dedicated, appointed Family Liaison Officer whose own personal life is in tatters; and finally a menacing, aggressive character whose hostility and anger towards the Kinnocks is escalating rapidly.

The writing is crisp and fluid. The characters are flawed, complex, and intriguing. And the plot, using alternating chapters, does an excellent job of intertwining, unraveling and building not only all the tension and increasing family drama but also the suggestions, clues, and procedures of the unfolding police investigation.

Overall, I think Gone Astray is a fantastic debut for Davies that definitely highlights money doesn’t always bring happiness and often we don’t know people as well as we think.

The second novel in the DC Maggie Neville series, Wrong Place, is due out later this fall and you can be confident it’s already on my TBR list.

About the Author:

Michelle Davies has been a magazine contributor for over twenty years, including working the production desk at Elle, and as Features Editor of Heat. Her last staff position before going freelance was Editor-at-Large at Grazia magazine, and she currently writes for a number of women’s magazines and newspaper supplements. Michelle is also a crime reviewer for the Books section of the Sunday Express.

Michelle lives in London with her partner and daughter, juggling crime writing, freelance journalism, and motherhood. Gone Astray is her debut novel.

Thank you to Publishers Group Canada 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 Michelle Davies, visit her website at: michelledavieswriter.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @M_Davieswrites

 

#BookReview
Killer Affair by Rebecca Chance
@MsRebeccaChance @PGCBooks

Synopsis:

A shocking betrayal deserves a wicked revenge . . .

Stunning, charismatic Lexy O’Brien is the reigning queen of British reality TV. Her life in front of the camera is planned and manipulated as successfully as any military assault.

But success breeds jealousy. When you’re on top, the only way is down and there’s always someone standing by to give you a shove . . .

Dowdy Caroline Evans, a part-time blogger and writer of erotic fiction, is brought in to chronicle Lexy’s life. Being taken under Lexy’s wing is a dream come true for Caroline. But sampling the star’s lifestyle is like tasting the most addictive of drugs, and it’s not long before she is craving what she can’t possibly have – or can she?

And as Caroline and Lexy’s lives and loves become increasingly entwined, it’s only a matter of time before the hidden rivalry becomes a powder keg waiting to explode . . .


Book Rating: 8/10

Scandalous, salacious, and outrageously entertaining!

Killer Affair is an alluring novel that takes us into the lives of the rich and famous and reminds us that everything that glitters is not gold and often behind the shiny facade and quintessential social media postings is an abundance of power, obsession, envy, deception, betrayal, infidelity, and revenge.

The writing is well done. The characters are ambitious, self-indulgent, and vain. And the plot is a clever, captivating mix of humour, drama, action, and sex.

Overall, I have to say Killer Affair is truly a scintillating, enjoyable treat that’s perfect for anyone who loves all the backstabbing, glamour, gossip, and sexual hijinks of reality TV. It will make you smile, laugh, and at times even leave you at a loss for words.

Thank you to PGC 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 Rebecca Chance, visit her website at: rebeccachanceauthor.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @MsRebeccaChance

 

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