The Arctic Fury by Greer Macallister #historicalfiction #review @sourcebooks


A dozen women join a secret 1850s Arctic expedition—and a sensational murder trial unfolds when some of them don’t come back.

Eccentric Lady Jane Franklin makes an outlandish offer to adventurer Virginia Reeve: take a dozen women, trek into the Arctic, and find her husband’s lost expedition. Four parties have failed to find him, and Lady Franklin wants a radical new approach: put the women in charge.

A year later, Virginia stands trial for murder. Survivors of the expedition willing to publicly support her sit in the front row. There are only five. What happened out there on the ice?

Set against the unforgiving backdrop of one of the world’s most inhospitable locations, USA Today bestselling author Greer Macallister uses the true story of Lady Jane Franklin’s tireless attempts to find her husband’s lost expedition as a jumping-off point to spin a tale of bravery, intrigue, perseverance and hope.


Lady Jane Franklin hires Virginia Reeve to take 12 women on a trek to the Arctic to find her husband. This expedition ends tragically. Virginia also ends up on trial for murder. One of the women on the trip dies and her family needs to blame someone! However, there is a lot of double dealing, secrecy and lies.

This book is told in various time periods, settings and various points of view. This bothers many readers. However, the author handled this excellently and I had no trouble keeping up.

Now, there are several parts I enjoyed more than others. I loved the courtroom scenes. That is where the true mystery lies. This section is intriguing and unique.

The part about the expedition is just ok. This is why I gave the book a 4 instead of a 5 star. The expedition should have been the most exciting. But I just did not enjoy this part as much as I expected.

All that being said…this is a unique read about strong women overcoming many facets of life! Grab your copy today! You will be glad you did!

I received this novel from the publisher for a honest review.

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The Wicked Hour by Alice Blanchard @stmartinspress #fiction #review


From the award-winning author of Trace of Evil, a detective dealing with the scars of her past must solve a seemingly unconnected string of murders, and face the impossible question of what to do when the killer may be hiding amongst the ones you know, in Alice Blanchard’s The Wicked Hour. 

“Readers will welcome a return to Burning Lake with Natalie at the helm.”—Associated Press

“Lockhart is a relatable new heroine on the police-procedural scene, and one who will appeal to readers of Tana French.”Booklist

The day after Burning Lake’s notorious, debauched Halloween celebration, Detective Natalie Lockhart uncovers a heartbreaking scene—a young woman, dead and lying in a dumpster. There’s no clue to who she is, save for a mystifying tattoo on her arm, and a callus underneath her chin. She’s not from around here. No one knows who she is.

As Natalie retraces the young woman’s steps leading up to her death, she uncovers a deeper, darker horror—a string of murders and disappearances, seemingly unconnected, that may have ties to each other—and explain the abrupt disappearance of her best friend years ago.

As she digs deeper within the mind of the hunter, Natalie finds a darkness she could never have imagined. And as she draws closer to the truth, the killer is weaving a trap for her that may prove inescapable.


Detective Natalie Lockhart has uncovered a string of murders in her town. She is fighting her own demons as she is searching for the murderer. And the closer she gets to the truth, the more she realizes the murderer is someone she would never suspect. Or maybe not!

There are quite a few missteps in this book. The author repeats herself several times about several things. If she says once…she says MULTIPLE times about her friend disappearing in high school and the person who was accused of her death kills himself. I also recommend reading the first in this series. I have not read the first one and that may have helped me follow some of this story.

I did enjoy the suspense built around these disappearances. I also connected with Natalie. She is struggling to overcome the death of her sister (this is where reading the first book would have been helpful). The author did a great job with Natalie’s pain and with her strength to overcome. Plus, the mystery surrounding the murders is intense and unique.

I received this novel from the publisher for a honest opinion.

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November Escapes and Escapades #escapesandescapades #wrapup #5starreads

Well! November has come and gone! I did not do a whole lot this month. After a busy October, I decided to sit my happy little butt at home and work and read. So without further ado…


I wanted to share some of the beautiful foliage around my home. We had some wonderful colors this year.

I hope everyone was able to get out and enjoy the nature around them. Sometimes it just puts things into perspective.

I also did…just a little scrapbooking this month. I made some cards using the one sheet wonder technique. Easy and quick if you need to make a lot of cards in a short amount of time.

Now…on to the escapes. I did not post a lot this month. I actually read a lot of books which will be released in December. I will do the same in December. My January is PACKED and I need to stay ahead! So, some of these books you will see the review in December. SO STAY TUNED! Lots of good ones coming up!


Lowcountry Boughs of Holly
Comrade Koba
Stories from Suffragette City

Lots of good ones coming up!

What did you read and LOVE in November!

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Audible Reads for November #wrapup #audiobooks #audible #audiblebooks

Well! November is almost in the past! One step closer to 2021!

I listened to three audible books this month and they were all very good in different ways!


This was probably my least favorite of the month. But, it is still a good read. I loved the history and the psychic, Ellie. She is a strong character with a unique ability.

I love this author and I am slowly reading all her books. This is a good one! Don’t miss it!

The Other Side Of Midnight

Next up

Jill Shalvis has become one of my go to authors. All her stories are perfect for a short, quick, much needed read. She has the best characters and she is also the best at ONE LINERS! She is a hoot. And the narrator is one of my favorites, Karen White. She is an expert!

Lost and Found Sisters

Last but not least…

This book had me CACKLING out loud! It’s a good thing I was not listening in public…I would have been committed. It is risqué in places but absolutely one of the funniest books I have ever listened to. This should let you know that the narrator, Amanda Ronconi, is fantastic! You really don’t want to miss this one!

And One Last Thing

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Tsarina by Ellen Alpsten @stmartinspress @EAlpsten_Author #historicalfiction #5star


Makes Game of Thrones look like a nursery rhyme.” —Daisy Goodwin, New York Times bestselling author of The Fortune Hunter

“[Alpsten] recounts this remarkable woman’s colourful life and times.” —Count Nikolai Tolstoy, historian and author

Before there was Catherine the Great, there was Catherine Alexeyevna: the first woman to rule Russia in her own right. Ellen Alpsten’s rich, sweeping debut novel is the story of her rise to power.

St. Petersburg, 1725. Peter the Great lies dying in his magnificent Winter Palace. The weakness and treachery of his only son has driven his father to an appalling act of cruelty and left the empire without an heir. Russia risks falling into chaos. Into the void steps the woman who has been by his side for decades: his second wife, Catherine Alexeyevna, as ambitious, ruthless and passionate as Peter himself.

Born into devastating poverty, Catherine used her extraordinary beauty and shrewd intelligence to ingratiate herself with Peter’s powerful generals, finally seducing the Tsar himself. But even amongst the splendor and opulence of her new life—the lavish feasts, glittering jewels, and candle-lit hours in Peter’s bedchamber—she knows the peril of her position. Peter’s attentions are fickle and his rages powerful; his first wife is condemned to a prison cell, her lover impaled alive in Red Square. And now Catherine faces the ultimate test: can she keep the Tsar’s death a secret as she plays a lethal game to destroy her enemies and take the Crown for herself?

From the sensuous pleasures of a decadent aristocracy, to the incense-filled rites of the Orthodox Church and the terror of Peter’s torture chambers, the intoxicating and dangerous world of Imperial Russia is brought to vivid life. Tsarina is the story of one remarkable woman whose bid for power would transform the Russian Empire.


Catherine learned at an early age how to take care of herself. She was actually from one of the poorest families in the area. And due to several intriguing circumstances, she ends up as the Tsarina to all of Russia. Catherine was extremely intelligent, even though she never learned to read. She had and intuitiveness which helped her to achieve goals way beyond anyone’s expectations.

I fluctuated between 4 and 5 stars on this one. It is not without problems. But I was captivated. This is the first Catherine I novel I have read. I loved this time period. And I think she is truly one of the most fascinating of all the historical women. The author did a fabulous job with the research and with the realities surrounding this unique monarch.

Like I said earlier, this novel has a few problems. It is slow to start. Plus, at the first of this book several of the same type of things happen to Catherine. I don’t want to give anything away. But I had the thought…if this happens ONE MORE TIME! Luckily, as the book moves along the writing takes on a very good rhythm and I did not want to stop reading. I found myself very caught up in the life of Catherine as well as Peter the Great.

This is a gripping tale you do not want to miss!

Grab your copy today!

I received this novel from the publisher for a honest review.

Author Bio:

ELLEN ALPSTEN was born and raised in the Kenyan highlands. Upon graduating from L’Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris, she worked as a news anchor for Bloomberg TV London. Whilst working gruesome night shifts on breakfast TV, she started to write in earnest, every day, after work and a nap. Today, Ellen works as an author and as a journalist for international publications such as Vogue, Standpoint and CN Traveller. She lives in London with her husband, three sons and a moody fox red Labrador. Tsarina is her debut novel.

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COVER REVEAL! The Forest of Vanishing Stars by Kristin Harmel


After being stolen from her wealthy German parents and raised in the unforgiving wilderness of eastern Europe, a young woman finds herself alone in 1941 after her kidnapper dies. Her solitary existence is interrupted, however, when she happens upon a group of Jews fleeing the Nazi terror. Stunned to learn what’s happening in the outside world, she vows to teach the group all she can about surviving in the forest—and in turn, they teach her some surprising lessons about opening her heart after years of isolation. But when she is betrayed and escapes into a German-occupied village, her past and present come together in a shocking collision that could change everything.

Preorder here!

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Pretending by Holly Bourne – Excerpt and Book Spotlight

Pretending : A Novel
Holly Bourne
On Sale Date: November 17, 2020 9780778331506, 0778331504 Trade Paperback
$17.99 USD
416 pages


In this hilarious and heartbreaking debut novel perfect for fans of Fleabag, a woman struggling to move on after a traumatic relationship pretends to be “the perfect girl” in an act of vengeance that goes awry when she finds herself emotionally compromised.
He said he was looking for a ‘partner in crime’ which everyone knows is shorthand for ‘a woman who isn’t real’.
April is kind, pretty, and relatively normal – yet she can’t seem to get past date five. Every time she thinks she’s found someone to trust, they reveal themselves to be awful, leaving her heartbroken. And angry. Until she realizes that what men are really looking for is Gretel.
Gretel is perfect – beautiful but low maintenance, sweet but never clingy, sexy but not a slut. She’s a Regular Everyday Manic Pixie Dream Girl Next Door With No Problems.
When April starts pretending to be Gretel, dating becomes much more fun – especially once she reels in the unsuspecting Joshua. Finally, April is the one in control, but can she control her own feelings? And as she and Joshua grow closer, how long will she be able to keep pretending?


Holly Bourne is a bestselling UK-based YA and Adult Fiction author and is an Ambassador for Women’s Aid. In 2019, she was an Author of the Day at the London Book Fair, and was named by Elle Magazine’s weekly podcast as one of “Six Female Authors Changing the Conversation in 2019”. Pretending is her US debut.

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Author website: Twitter: @holly_bourneYA

Instagram: @hollybourneya Facebook: @Holly.BourneYA


I hate men.
There, I’ve said it. I know you’re not supposed to say it. We all pretend we don’t hate them; we all tell ourselves we don’t hate them. But I’m calling it. I’m standing here on this soapbox, and I’m saying it.
I. Hate. Men.
I mean, think about it. They’re just awful. I hate how selfish they are. How they take up so much space, assuming it’s always theirs to take. How they spread out their legs on public transport, like their balls need regular airing to stop them developing damp. I hate how they basically scent mark anywhere they enter to make it work for them. Putting on the music they want to listen to the moment they arrive at any house party, and always taking the nicest chair. How they touch your stuff instead of just looking; even tweak the furniture arrangement to make it most comfortable for them. All without asking first—never asking first.
I hate how they think their interests are more important than yours—even though twice a week all most of them do is watch a bunch of strangers kick a circle around a piece of lawn and sulk if the circle doesn’t go in the right place. And how bored they look if you ever try to introduce them to a film, a band, or even a freaking YouTube clip, before you’ve even pressed Play.
I hate their endless arrogance. I hate how they interrupt you and then apologize for it but carry on talking anyway. How they ask you a question but then check your answer afterward. I hate how they can never do one piece of housework without telling you about it. I hate how they literally cannot handle being driven in a car by a woman, even if they’re terrible drivers themselves. I hate how they all think they’re fucking incredible at grilling meat on barbecues. The sun comes out and man must light fire and not let woman anywhere near the meat. Dumping blackened bits of chicken onto our plates along with the whiff of a burp from their beer breath, acting all caveman, like we’re supposed to find it cute that we may now get salmonella and that we’re going to have to do all the washing up.
I hate how I’m quite scared of them. I hate the collective noise of them when they’re in a big group. The tribal wahey-ing, like they all swap their IQs for extra testosterone when they swarm together. How, if you’re sitting alone on an empty train, they always come and deliberately sit next to you en masse, and talk extra loudly about macho nonsense, apparently to impress you. I hate the way they look at you when you walk past—automatically judging your screwability the moment they see you. Telling you to smile if you dare look anything other than delighted about living with stuff like this constantly fucking happening to you.
I hate how hard they are to love. How many of them actually, truly, think the way to your heart is sending you a selfie of them tugging themselves, hairy ball sack very much still in shot. I hate how they have sex. How they shove their fingers into you, thinking it’s going to achieve anything. Jabbing their unwashed hands into your dry vagina, prodding about like they’re checking for prostate cancer, then wondering why you now have BV and you still haven’t come. Have none of them read a sex manual? Seriously? None of them? And I hate how they hate you a little just after they’ve finished. How even the nice ones lie there with cold eyes, pretending to cuddle, but clearly desperate to get as far away from you as possible.
I hate how it’s never equal. How they expect you to do all the emotional labor and then get upset when you’re the more stressed-out one. I hate how they never understand you, no matter how hard they try, although, let’s be honest here, they never actually try that hard. And I hate how you’re always exhausting yourself trying to explain even the most basic of your rational emotional responses to their bored face.
I hate how every single last one of them has issues with their father.
And do you know what I hate most of all?
That despite this, despite all this disdain, I still fancy men. And I still want them to fancy me, to want me, to love me. I hate myself for how much I want them. Why do I still fancy men so much? What’s wrong with me? Why are they all so broken? Am I broken for still wanting to be with one, even after everything? I should be alone. That’s the only healthy way to be. BUT I DON’T WANT TO BE ALONE. I hate men, that’s the problem. GOD I HATE THEM SO MUCH—they’re so entitled and broken and lazy and wrong and…and…
Hang on…
My phone.
Never mind.
Forget I said anything. It’s all good.

Excerpted from Pretending by Holly Bourne, Copyright © 2020 by Holly Bourne. Published by MIRA Books.

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Deathload by Cy Young – Excerpt and Book Spotlight


By Cy Young

Genre: Thriller

About the Book

When his Marine son is killed by friendly fire in Desert Storm, ex-CIA agent and truck tycoon Vincent Fazio constructs two trucks and out of revenge, sends them on a destructive rampage across the country blowing up air force bases.  Tracking the behemoths is Phoenix P.D. detective and karate champion Manny Breen.  Breen teams up with Phoenix P.D. chopper pilot Sharon Kramer.  Together they follow the trucks and end up at the White House for a powerful ending.

About the Author

Cy Young performed as a dancer/singer on Broadway and co-starred at the Globe Theater in London in Divorce Me Darling.  He worked with Howard Keel (On A Clear Day) and Buster Keaton (Once Upon A Mattress) as a featured player with great reviews.  Young has many recordings on the Painted Smiles Records, performed a night club act at New York’s famous Number One Fifth Avenue, and has done numerous commercials and voice overs.  Also a writer, Cy has written three published (French) plays, three musicals, and has a song on the Streisand Third album, Draw Me A Circle, which Barbra used to open one of her early TV Specials.  Cy’s short story, The Schitzle Connection, has been published by Twit Publishing (Winter/Spring. 2011 edition) and won Best Short Story in an Oklahoma City Writer’s Group contest.







Bursts of heavy artillery fire danced on the horizon as the staccato rumble of Saddam’s big guns rolled across the windswept desert toward them. Marine Lance Cor- poral Vincent Fazio, Jr. squinted into the rolling clouds of dust at the road ahead.

Vincent’s LAV-25 was the third Light Armored Vehicle in the convoy now highballing recklessly into heavy enemy fire. The armored unit was speed- ing toward Umm Hugul. The Marines were the iron fist of the thrust and Vince was beginning to get that sick feeling again in the pit of his stomach.

Operation Desert Storm was moving into high gear. Vince and his buddies had hoped the ground war would never materialize. Now reality was star- ing them in the face.

A shell burst off the road behind them. The LAV swerved erratically.

“Shit, that was close!” Vince’s buddy yelled as he was jolted against the steel struts of the vehicle.

Norm Kleinhsauer was wishing he’d stayed at the hardware store in Monet, Missouri. It was better

to be a live clerk than a dead Marine. He glanced over at his buddy.

“Hey, Vince? You scared?”

Fazio’s face, illuminated in a sudden shell burst, was tense. Tense? He was scared shitless. But what the hell, he was a Marine, wasn’t he?

Marines were tough assholes, square-jawed leather-necks. He could fake it as well as the next guy.

“Nah,” Vince shouted, glancing at his buddy, “I saw more action last year when I visited New York!”

Norm laughed as another shell whined over- head. Both ducked as the shell went wide, bursting well to their right. Vince liked Norman. He liked most of the guys in his unit. They’d learned to stick together, be a family. Not like his own family. His fa- ther was too rich, too powerful, too busy making deals and traveling to pay much attention to him. He’d been proud when Vince joined the Marines, though. Vince knew because he’d overheard Vince Senior bragging about him to an old pal in the CIA.

Vince had mixed feelings about his dad. The man could be heartless, cruel. He’d seen him break associates, destroy them without mercy, then laugh

about the way they’d squirmed and folded. Vince had learned to be tough. He’d learned from the best.

The first they knew of the Warthog was a wrenching roar behind and above them. Slow and ugly, the A-10 was one of the deadliest planes taking part in Desert Storm. The tank killer had a battery of high powered weapons which were already locking onto the convoy below. After the tragedy, the pilot swore he didn’t see the markings on the LAVs identi- fying them as friendly. But it was war. Crazy things happened.

Norm was the first to hear the plane closing behind them and turned. “Hey, guys? We got air cover!” he shouted as he strained to see through the smoke and sand swirls erupting around them. His as- sumption that the plane was friendly was accurate. The Iraqi Air Force had been decimated in the first few days of the air war. Now the multi-nationals owned the air. “Go get those mothers!” he yelled at the approaching plane.

As Vince turned to look back, the A-10’s two cannons fired a salvo striking the LAV and knocking it into the air. The vehicle landed on its nose with a violent thud, hop-skipping end over end half a dozen

times before skidding to a stop upside down. The Marines had been blown free and were lying scat- tered on the sand. All except for Vincent Fazio, Jr. He was wedged under the LAV’s front end, blood oozing from his mouth, his body crushed, his eyes open in a blank stare of death.

The young casualty was one of less than two hundred men killed in combat in the Gulf War. The men who would die because of Vincent’s death by friendly fire would reach into the thousands.

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Lowcountry Boughs of Holly by Susan M. Boyer @HeneryPress @susanmboyer #fiction #review #christmas


It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but Private Investigator Liz Talbot is struggling to feel festive. She hasn’t seen her best friend, Colleen, in weeks and fears she may never see her again in this life. Meanwhile Nate, Liz’s husband and partner, is spending money like he prints it in the attic on a mysterious family Christmas celebration. Liz’s nerves are shot, and she hasn’t even decked a single hall. But there’s simply no time to fret.

On a morning beach run, Liz spots a wooden rowboat run aground with Santa inside. Did Old Saint Nick have too much eggnog at the boat parade? No indeedy—Santa’s been shot. And he’s none other than C.C. Bounetheau, patriarch of one of Charleston’s wealthiest families.

Liz and Nate already unwrapped quite a few family secrets while searching for the Bounetheau’s missing granddaughter last year—enough to make them swear to steer forever clear of the entire clan. But as Mr. Bounetheau’s body is found in Stella Maris, and Liz and Nate are the police chief’s on-call detectives, they’re on the case.

With no shortage of suspects, Liz and Nate dash to find a killer who may be working his or her way down a naughty list.  

Spend Christmas in the Lowcountry with the Talbot family and their friends in Susan M. Boyer’s latest Southern charmer, Lowcountry Boughs of Holly. Tis the season for merry mayhem!


Santa has been found murdered in a boat. Liz and her husband have been called into investigate. The list of suspects gets longer and longer. But, Liz is not to be stopped.

Liz always gets herself in a crack. However, she has lots of luck and quite a few people looking out for her. They also know her well and know that mayhem follows her wherever she goes.

I just love this series. No, I have not read them all. And the ones I have read, I have not read in order. This series has wonderful southern characters with quite a few mishaps that have the reader laughing and enjoying the whole pack of misfits..this is including Liz! I did miss Colleen. Colleen tends to set things on their ear when she shows up. However…she will be back for the next book…I think.

Need a good cozy, southern, Christmas mystery…THIS IS IT!

I received this novel from the publisher for a honest review.

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The Forgotten Sister by Nicola Cornick #historicalfiction #review @harlequinbooks @nicolacornick


In the tradition of the spellbinding historical novels of Philippa Gregory and Kate Morton comes a stunning story based on a real-life Tudor mystery, of a curse that echoes through the centuries and shapes two women’s destinies…

1560: Amy Robsart is trapped in a loveless marriage to Robert Dudley, a member of the court of Queen Elizabeth I. Surrounded by enemies and with nowhere left to turn, Amy hatches a desperate scheme to escape—one with devastating consequences that will echo through the centuries…

Present Day: When Lizzie Kingdom is forced to withdraw from the public eye in a blaze of scandal, it seems her life is over. But she’s about to encounter a young man, Johnny Robsart, whose fate will interlace with hers in the most unexpected of ways. For Johnny is certain that Lizzie is linked to a terrible secret dating back to Tudor times. If Lizzie is brave enough to go in search of the truth, then what she discovers will change the course of their lives forever.


Lizzie must hide from the public due to a scandal. She is not at all happy about it. She has worked hard to get where she is. Now it has all changed.

This is a unique and intriguing read. I was a little hesitant at first. With all the psychic references and the jumping of time, I did not think I would enjoy it as much as I did. The author did a fabulous job explaining where, what, when and how. And did so in such a way…you had to find out what was going to happen next.

The characters are another intriguing aspect of this read. I was fascinated with Amy Robsart then add in Johnny…boy…what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.

This novel does not quit! Grab your copy today!

I received this novel from the publisher for a honest review.

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About the author

USA Today bestselling author Nicola Cornick has written over thirty historical romances for
Harlequin and HQN Books. She has been nominated twice for a RWA RITA Award and twice for
the UK RNA Award. She works as a historian and guide in a seventeenth century house. In
2006 she was awarded a Masters degree with distinction from Ruskin College, Oxford, where
she wrote her dissertation on heroes.


Author Website:

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