Don’t Back Down by Sharon Sala #booktwitter #bookreview #thriller @sourcebookscasa @dreamscapeaudio

Overview

Army veteran Cameron Pope arrives back in Jubilee, Kentucky, for the first time in years. He barely has time to catch his breath when he becomes embroiled in a race of life or death for his little niece and a deadly hunt for the human traffickers who are destroying the peace of his mountain town. When he’s reunited with Rusty Caldwell—a woman from his past he’s never stopped thinking about—he wants to believe they can finally be together. But Cameron is shocked to find out that Rusty belongs to one of the rich families in Jubilee—the same rich folks who scorn the rural families living on the surrounding mountainside, in spite of knowing nothing about them. With their community in the crosshairs, Cameron and Rusty will have to find a way to end the feuding and take down the human trafficking ring if they’re to have a chance at happiness.

Review

Rusty and Cameron had a one night stand years ago and Cameron snuck out and went off to the Army. It has been years since they have seen each other but neither one has ever forgotten about the other. Now, life has brought them back together and they refuse to be separated any time soon! But, once again, life is throwing curve balls and they each have to come out of this investigation alive!

This is a bit overly dramatic and I did roll my eyes in places and I honestly believe it was the narrator. I just was not a big fan of Tim Lounibos. For instance, there are places a character cried and I could not understand him during these parts.

That being said…I did love Rusty, Cameron and the dog Ghost. Cameron is definitely a strong character with a soft heart. I fell for him hook, line and sinker. Plus, he owns the best dog in the book world, Ghost! Add in the human trafficking and the who did what to whom and this is a pretty good tale!

Need a thriller with great characters…THIS IS IT! Grab your copy today!

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

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What Have We Done by Alex Finlay #smpinfluencer #booktwitter #bookreview @stmartinspress @macmillanaudio

Overview

This is a multicast program.

In one of the year’s most anticipated thrillers #1 New York Times bestseller Sarah Pekkanen calls “Alex Finlay’s best yet,” What Have We Done is a tale about the lives we leave behind and the secrets we carry with us forever.

A stay-at-home mom with a past.

A has-been rock star with a habit.

A reality TV producer with a debt.

Three disparate lives.

One deadly secret.

Twenty five years ago, Jenna, Donnie, and Nico were the best of friends, having forged a bond through the abuse and neglect they endured as residents of Savior House, a group home for parentless teens. When the home was shut down—after the disappearance of several kids—the three were split up.

Though the trauma of their childhood has never left them, each went on to live accomplished—if troubled—lives. They haven’t seen one another since they were teens but now are reunited for a single haunting reason: someone is trying to kill them.

To survive, the group will have to revisit the nightmares of their childhoods and confront their shared past—a past that holds the secret to why someone wants them dead.

It’s a reunion none of them asked for . . . or wanted. But it may be the only way to save all their lives.

What Have We Done is both an edge-of-your seat thriller and a gut-wrenching coming-of-age story. And it cements Alex Finlay as one of the new leading voices in thrillers today.

Review

Someone is trying to kill Jenna, Donnie and Nico. These three were best friends and they share a terrible past at the Savior House children’s home. They were separated when the home closed because of missing kids. Now, they are thrown together out of necessity to save each other. This is a reunion no one wanted.

This story started strong and intense. The only reason for the 4 star review is I hated the villains. Yes, yes I know that is the plan. But, I found these villains just a bit stupid and their past a bit too coincidental. Now, this is a minor issue because the main characters make up for it! I loved Jenna! She is a force of nature!

This story has quite a few characters. I usually don’t enjoy books with so many characters. But this book kept each and every one unique, they all had a rough past, but they all are different. And I totally related to all of them.

I loved all the narrators. I really believe this is the reason I had no trouble with all the characters. This is a an audio production at its finest.

Need a good thriller with a big secret…THIS IS IT! Grab your copy today!

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

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Johanna Porter is Not Sorry By Sara Read @harlequinbooks #bookreview #booktwitter

JOHANNA PORTER IS NOT SORRY

Author: Sara Read
ISBN: 9781525899980
Publication Date: March 7, 2023

Publisher: Graydon House

Book Summary:

A sharp, witty debut novel about a soccer mom who steals a world famous portrait of herself from the narcissistic artist who was once her lover, an impulsive crime that will re-frame her suburban life and make her question her life choices.

The headlines dubbed it the art heist of the decade, but for Johanna, it wasn’t theft, it was a rescue.

Twenty years ago, Johanna Porter was a rising star in the art world. Now she’s an unknown soccer mom. When an invitation arrives to an elite gallery opening for her former lover, the great Nestor Pinedo, Johanna wants to throw it in the trash where it belongs. But with some styling help from her daughter, she makes an appearance and comes face-to-face with the woman she was before the powerful and jealous Nestor ruined her.

La Rosa Blanca is a portrait of Johanna herself, young and fierce and fearless—a masterwork with a price tag to match. When she cuts it out of its frame, rolls it up, and walks out, Johanna is only taking back what was stolen from her.

Hiding out with La Rosa Blanca in a shack on the Chesapeake Bay, Johanna digs into the raw work of reviving her own skills while battling novice-thief paranoia, impostor syndrome, and mom guilt. But Johanna doesn’t just want the painting, she wants to paint again. To harness her powerful talent, she must defy everyone’s expectations—most of all her own—for what a woman like her should be.

Review

Johanna has decided to face her past and go to this dang party. She received this invitation and it threw her for a loop. But, she puts on a second hand evening gown and she faces her former lover, Nestor Pinedo, the famous artist. The evening does not go as planned. Johanna derails and goes insane for a brief period of time. She steals the portrait of her young self that Nestor painted of her. She has no idea what came over her. But this has changed her thought process and she is bound and determined that he will not get this back!

I love, love, love Johanna. And I will let y’all in on a secret, this story does not match this cover. This is more serious than the cover looks and I enjoyed every minute of it! I expected more of a romantic comedy but that is not what this book is at all. This book covers a multitude of situations like parenting, theft, drug addiction, childhood trauma and a loss of dreams…just to name a few!

I love it when a book surprises me (probably why I don’t read the blurb!). And this one did. I was very much engrossed in Johanna’s life. And trust me…you will be too!

Need a really good escape…THIS IS IT! Grab your copy today!

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

Author Bio:

Originally from Washington, DC, SARA READ tried the nine-to-five life for about a nanosecond before moving to rural Virginia to become a flute-maker’s apprentice and traditional fiddle player. Childbirth led her to a career in nursing. A cancer survivor herself, she now has the distinct privilege of caring for cancer patients. She is co-founder of #momswritersclub, a biweekly YouTube and live Twitter chat for writers. Sara lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, with her husband, two teens, a terrier, and three snarky cats. She loves a long run, a long road trip, and a long talk with a friend. http://www.sararead.net

Author Website: https://www.sararead.net/ 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sarareadauthor/r

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sarafinn11/ 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sarareadauthor 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21955366.Sara_Read

Buy Links:

BookShop: https://bookshop.org/p/books/johanna-porter-is-not-sorry-sara-read/18524228?ean=9781525899980 

Harlequin: https://www.harlequin.com/shop/books/9781525899980_johanna-porter-is-not-sorry.html  

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/johanna-porter-is-not-sorry-sara-read/1141490074?ean=9781525899980 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Johanna-Porter-Not-Sorry-Novel/dp/1525899988/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=johanna+porter+is+not+sorry&qid=1673387930&sprefix=johanna+porter+%2Caps%2C114&sr=8-1 

Books-A-Million: https://www.booksamillion.com/p/Johanna-Porter-Not-Sorry/Sara-Read/9781525899980?id=8292090795540

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The Lost English Girl by Julia Kelly @gallerybooks @the_julia_kelly #booktwitter #bookreview #5stars

Overview

The acclaimed author of the “sweeping and beautifully written novel” (Woman’s World) The Light Over London weaves an epic saga of love, motherhood, and betrayal set against World War II.

Liverpool, 1935: Raised in a strict Catholic family, Viv Byrne knows what’s expected of her: marry a Catholic man from her working-class neighborhood and have his children. However, when she finds herself pregnant after a fling with Joshua Levinson, a Jewish man with dreams of becoming a famous Jazz musician, Viv knows that a swift wedding is the only answer. Her only solace is that marrying Joshua will mean escaping her strict mother’s scrutiny. But when Joshua makes a life-changing choice on their wedding day, Viv is forced once again into the arms of her disapproving family.

Five years later and on the eve of World War II, Viv is faced with the impossible choice to evacuate her young daughter, Maggie, to the countryside estate of the affluent Thompson family. In New York City, Joshua gives up his failing musical career to serve in the Royal Air Force, fight for his country, and try to piece together his feelings about the family, wife, and daughter he left behind at nineteen. However, tragedy strikes when Viv learns that the countryside safe haven she sent her daughter to wasn’t immune from the horrors of war. It is only years later, with Joshua’s help, that Viv learns the secrets of their shared past and what it will take to put a family back together again.

Telling the harrowing story of England’s many evacuated children, bestselling author Julia Kelly’s The Lost English Girl explores how one simple choice can change the course of a life, and what we are willing to forgive to find a way back to the ones we love and thought lost.

Review

Viv has made a terrible mistake and she has gotten herself pregnant and by Joshua, a Jew, not a good Catholic boy. Her parents are not happy and on the day of their wedding, her mother buys Joshua off and he leaves Viv and her unborn child to pursue a musical career in NYC. Then the war breaks out and Viv must evacuate her daughter, Maggie, to the countryside for safe keeping. But, Maggie is not as safe as everyone thought.

This story will tear your heart out. I do not see how parents evacuated their children. The trust it took! I understand why and I do know many children were saved this way, but how agonizing! And Viv tried her best to keep Maggie with her. But the forces were just too powerful. And oh…it was heartbreaking to read about their separation and Viv’s struggle to visit Maggie.

Then there is Joshua, Viv’s estranged husband and Maggie’s father. He made a terrible decision at the beginning of their marriage. And y’all know I don’t read the blurb…so I read his decision with a cuss word coming out of my mouth! But, he shows back up Viv’s life when she desperately needs his support. And you will have to read about that part yourself and see if you forgive him!

This author has done it again! I have enjoyed all of her books and this one is one of her best! I have thought a little bit about the children who were evacuated but I don’t think I have ever read a book completely devoted to that area of the war.

Need a book which will have you wanting more…THIS IS IT! Grab your copy today!

I received this novel from the publisher for a honest review

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The London Séance Society by Sarah Penner #booktwitter #bookreview #historicalfiction @harlequinbooks

Overview

An atmospheric and evocative whodunnit steeped in suspense, mystery, and illusion.” —Nita Prose, #1 New York Times bestseller of The Maid

From the author of the sensational bestseller The Lost Apothecary comes a spellbinding tale about two daring women who hunt for truth and justice in the perilous art of conjuring the dead.

1873. At an abandoned château on the outskirts of Paris, a dark séance is about to take place, led by acclaimed spiritualist Vaudeline D’Allaire. Known worldwide for her talent in conjuring the spirits of murder victims to ascertain the identities of the people who killed them, she is highly sought after by widows and investigators alike.

Lenna Wickes has come to Paris to find answers about her sister’s death, but to do so, she must embrace the unknown and overcome her own logic-driven bias against the occult. When Vaudeline is beckoned to England to solve a high-profile murder, Lenna accompanies her as an understudy. But as the women team up with the powerful men of London’s exclusive Séance Society to solve the mystery, they begin to suspect that they are not merely out to solve a crime, but perhaps entangled in one themselves…

“An explosive, immersive, time-bomb of a novel. Vengeance is never sweeter than in Sarah Penner’s hands.” —Laurie Lico Albanese, award-winning author of Hester

Review

Vaudeline D’Allaire is a very famous spiritualist. She is known for conjuring the spirits of victims of murder. She is sought after for her talents to find the criminals and to bring some solace to the victim’s families. Vaudeline has been called in to solve the crime of a high profile murder and she brings along her student Lenna. These two collaborate to find the killer but they soon discover this is more than they bargained for.

I absolutely loved The Lost Apothecary. You can see my review here . But this one fell a bit short for me. I did enjoy the séance parts. I am all about a good séance and ghosts. And this book really fed my imagination. But, I could not get into the meat of the story…the mystery. It fell flat and I actually got lost in spots. But, in all honesty…I am old and that happens😂!

Need a ghost story for late night reading….THIS IS IT! Grab your copy today.

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

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Murder at Haven’s Rock by Kelley Armstrong #audiobook #booktwitter # bookreview

Overview

I can’t say enough good things about the audio editions and narrator Thérèse Plummer, who has done a phenomenal job throughout the entire series.”—The Bibliosanctum

New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong’s Rockton Novels had one of the most unique towns in crime fiction. Murder at Haven’s Rock is a spinoff, a fresh start… with a few new dangers that threaten everything before it even begins.

Haven’s Rock, Yukon. Population: 0

Deep in the Yukon wilderness, a town is being built. A place for people to disappear, a fresh start from a life on the run. Haven’s Rock isn’t the first town of this kind, something detective Casey Duncan and her husband, Sheriff Eric Dalton, know firsthand. They met in the original town of Rockton. But greed and deception led the couple to financing a new refuge for those in need. This time around, they get to decide which applicants are approved for residency.

There’s only one rule in Haven’s Rock: stay out of the forest. When two of the town’s construction crew members break it and go missing, Casey and Eric are called in ahead of schedule to track them down. When a body is discovered, well-hidden with evidence of foul play, Casey and Eric must find out what happened to the dead woman, and locate those still missing. The longer Casey and Eric don’t know what happened, the more danger everyone is in.

Review

Casey Duncan and her husband, Eric are building a unique town in the Yukon wilderness. As they are getting near completion, 2 members of the construction team have disappeared in the forest. So, Casey and Eric are called in early to investigate. They soon discover there is more going on around their new home than they had first thought.

First up, as most of you know, I very seldom read the blurb. So, as I was listening to this, I felt there was a back story. There is, apparently, this is a spin off from another series and I am definitely going to add those to my list. I loved Casey Duncan and I so want to know more about her and her husband! Add in the setting of Alaska and I was hooked.

This is a story which did have me guessing because of the way the author presented it. There were multiple suspects and I so enjoy a guessing game. Now, I did feel there were some over dramatization in the writing but this narrator, Thérèse Plummer, is a pro and she is one of my favorites. She did an excellent job on this book, as she does with all her books!

Need a murder mystery set in the Yukon…THIS IS IT! Grab your copy today!

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

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It Ends at Midnight by Harriet Tyce #audiobook #audiblebook #bookreview #booktwitter @highbridgeaudio

Overview

It’s New Year’s Eve and the stage is set for a lavish party in one of Edinburgh’s best postcodes. It’s a moment for old friends to set the past to rights-and move on.

The night sky is alive with fireworks and the champagne is flowing. But the celebration fails to materialize.

Because someone at this party is going to die tonight.

Midnight approaches and the countdown begins—but it seems one of the guests doesn’t want a resolution.

They want revenge.

From the acclaimed author of Blood Orange comes a thriller of a party spiraling into murder, when one guest’s plan to right old wrongs ends in blood, told with Tyce’s signature dark and propulsive twists.

Review

Sylvia is working her way up to being a Judge. She has worked hard and made all the correct political manipulations. She has even found her a new man. Her life is finally moving forward. But, then her life goes off the rails. She is accused of something she did not do and all her aspirations and dreams come crashing down!

I had a difficult time connecting to the characters in this one. It took a while for me to really get into this story. But, I am glad I hung in there. There is a big twist to this tale. I did kind of figure it out, but not before I guessed wrong first.

Need a murder mystery with a fabulous setting and a twisty ending you will not forget…THIS IS IT! Grab your copy today!

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

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February Escapes and Escapades #februarywrapup #wrapup #bookreview #booktwitter

Well…I did nothing this month except work and read…so here are pictures of my dogs!

Now…on to the

In A Book Club Far Away
Snap Out Of It
The House Guest
The Jeweler of Stolen Dreams
Every Missing Girl
Code Name Sapphire
My Father’s House
The Last Orphan
End of Story
The Vienna Writers Circle
Maureen
Of Manners and Murder
Scorned
It’s One of Us
The Little Wartime Library
The Mistress Next Door
Dynasties
Fake Money, Blue Smoke

I also listened to 4 more audiobooks which I did not review on my blog. You can see my reviews on Tiktok or Instagram! And please follow…hel a girl out!

So….what did you read and enjoy?

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Fake Money Blue Smoke by Josh Haven #thriller #booktwitter #bookreview @mysteriouspress

Overview

When former platoon sergeant Matt Kubelsky is paroled from Ray Brook Federal Correctional Institute in upstate New York, he’s surprised to find his ex-girlfriend waiting for him out in the parking lot. An ex-girlfriend he’s spent years pining for after she dumped him. An ex-girlfriend who wonders if her apparently criminally-hardened ex-boyfriend can help her out of some extra-legal difficulty of her own.

During the years Matt was in prison, Kelly Haggerty discovered she couldn’t earn a satisfactory living as an artist, so she turned her artistic talents to counterfeiting foreign currency—and ended up embroiled in an international money laundering intrigue. Now she hopes she can get herself out of trouble with a cleverly-plotted theft and one last enormous score.

The missing ingredient is someone Kelly can trust to do the dirty work, recruiting career criminals who won’t flinch at the opportunity to make good money by whatever means necessary. And Matt is happy to oblige, as it seems like the perfect opportunity to settle the score with the men responsible for ruining his life and putting him away for a crime he didn’t commit. The heist—a horseback robbery of valuable artwork from a speeding Amtrak train—seems to be going perfectly, until one of the players starts to suspect he’s been paid in counterfeit bills . . .

Review

Matt has been released from prison and his ex-girlfriend, one he hasn’t seen in years, has picked him up. He thinks it is because she has finally decided she can’t live without him. But, this is not the case. She has a money laundering project and she needs his help. So much for going straight and clean. Matt immediately jumps back into the fire.

This is more of a 3 and 1/2 stars…you round up right! So that’s what I did. This book is a slow burn and I am not a big fan of that type of book. It did get intense and it sure did get physical, it was just a bit late in the story. The plot of the counterfeit scheme and the stolen art is very unique, in my opinion. I enjoyed all the intricate planning surrounding this undercover operation. It definitely takes some smarts to pull this off…too bad the bad guys didn’t actually pull it off without a hitch!

Now, I am not going to lie, but Matt with that sword…that would be something I would like to see on the big screen. You will have to read this to find out!

Need a good cops and robbers novel…THIS IS IT! Grab your copy today!

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

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The Night Travelers by Armando Lucas Correa #historicalfiction #bookreview #booktwitter

Overview

Four generations of women experience love, loss, war, and hope from the rise of Nazism to the Cuban Revolution and finally, the fall of the Berlin Wall in this sweeping novel from the bestselling author of the “timely must-read” (People) The German Girl.

Berlin, 1931: Ally Keller, a talented young poet, is alone and scared when she gives birth to a mixed-race daughter she names Lilith. As the Nazis rise to power, Ally knows she must keep her baby in the shadows to protect her against Hitler’s deadly ideology of Aryan purity. But as she grows, it becomes more and more difficult to keep Lilith hidden so Ally sets in motion a dangerous and desperate plan to send her daughter across the ocean to safety.

Havana, 1958: Now an adult, Lilith has few memories of her mother or her childhood in Germany. Besides, she’s too excited for her future with her beloved Martin, a Cuban pilot with strong ties to the Batista government. But as the flames of revolution ignite, Lilith and her newborn daughter, Nadine, find themselves at a terrifying crossroads.

Berlin, 1988: As a scientist in Berlin, Nadine is dedicated to ensuring the dignity of the remains of all those who were murdered by the Nazis. Yet she has spent her entire lifetime avoiding the truth about her own family’s history. It takes her daughter, Luna, to encourage Nadine to uncover the truth about the choices her mother and grandmother made to ensure the survival of their children. And it will fall to Luna to come to terms with a shocking betrayal that changes everything she thought she knew about her family’s past.

Separated by time but united by sacrifice, four women embark on journeys of self-discovery and find themselves to be living testaments to the power of motherly love.

Review

Ally has given birth to a mixed race daughter, Lilith. As the Nazis rise to power, Lilith’s life is threatened every day. So, Ally does an ultimate sacrifice. She sends her daughter overseas for protection. This would change their lives and destinies forever.

This is a story which spans several decades and several famous events. I especially enjoyed the part set in Cuba. I learned quite a bit about this time period.

I was supposed to physically read this one but I had a good many books due so I decided to get it from audible. I am glad I did. I will be honest, if I had physically read it, I probably would have DNFed it. It is a tad bit slow in places. But, don’t hold that against this book because the ending is the best. And I would have missed that!

Need a good family saga…this is it! Grab your copy today!

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

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