THE LAST HIGH by Canadian Bestselling Author and ER Doc DANIEL KALLA is a timely book. Although THE LAST HIGH is fiction, it is based on what is currently happening in Vancouver, BC. His first hand knowledge makes this story come to life and be felt viscerally by the reader.

Title: THE LAST HIGH

Author: DANIEL KALLA

Genre: FICTION, THRILLER, CANADIAN AUTHOR, OPIATE CRISIS, ADDICTION, SOCIAL THEMES

Length: 320 PAGES

Publisher: SIMON AND SCHUSTER CANADA

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: MAY 12, 2020

ISBN: 9781501196980

Price: $22.00 CDN

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Dr. Julie Rees, a toxicologist and ER doctor, is stunned when her emergency room is flooded with teenagers from the same party, all on the verge of death. Julie knows the world of opioids inside and out, and she recognizes that there’s nothing typical about these cases. She suspects the teens took—or were given—fentanyl. But why did they succumb so quickly?

Detective Anson Chen is determined to find out. He and Julie race to track down the supplier of the deadly drugs. But the trail of suspects leads everywhere, from unscrupulous street dealers to ruthless gang leaders who hide behind legitimate business fronts and the walls of their mansions.

As Anson and Julie follow clues through the drug underworld, Julie finds herself haunted by memories of her troubled past—and the lover she lost to addiction. When other overdoses fill the ER—and the morgue—Julie realizes that something even more sinister than the ongoing fentanyl crisis is devastating the streets. And the body count is rapidly rising.

A gripping thriller, The Last High explores the perfect storm of greed, addiction, and crime behind the malignant spread of fentanyl, a deadly drug that is killing people faster than any known epidemic.

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MY REVIEW:

Eerily plausible. THE LAST HIGH takes readers inside today’s headlines into the world of both opiod addiction and the current rates of overdose deaths due to drugs being laced with the extremely powerful painkiller, fentanyl.

According to Wikipedia, “The Downtown Eastside is a neighbourhood in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The area, one of the city’s oldest, is the site of a complex set of social issues including high levels of drug use, homelessness, poverty, crime, mental illness, and prostitution.”

The East side of Vancouver, is notorious and holds onto its reputation as the epicenter of hopelessness. This area was not only the hunting ground of prolific serial killer Robert Picton, but is also known for the number of junkies and drug addicts who live there.

Overdoses are not uncommon in East Van, and Author Daniel Kalla works as an Emergency Room doctor, so he sees, and tries to save, many of the unfortunate victims of overdose – mainly due to fentanyl being added to the drugs users usually buy unbeknownst to the buyer.

The terrifying plausibility is what makes this book so very realistic. It is this realism that will grip readers from the very first page.

This book is fast paced and the characters seem so real that is impossible not to get caught up in the story. Readers of this book are in for quite a ride. I found myself wanting to jump into some of the scenes and just shake the people involved.

I have no choice but to rate this book as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

THE LAST HIGH is due to be released on May 12th but is already available for Pre-Order. I am fairly certain that this book will hit the bestseller lists shortly after it’s release. Because of this I highly recommend pre-ordering THE LAST HIGH so that you don’t miss out.



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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Photography by Michael Bednar

Born, raised, and still residing in Vancouver, Kalla spends his days (and sometimes nights) working as an ER Physician in an urban teaching hospital.

The idea for his first medical thriller, PANDEMIC, sprang from his clinical experience in facing the SARS crisis of 2003. He has written five science thrillers and or medical mysteries, delving into themes and topics as diverse as superbugs, drug addiction, prions, DNA evidence, pandemics and patient abuse.

Kalla’s last book, THE FAR SIDE OF THE SKY, is a historical novel set in Second World War Shanghai against the dramatic backdrop of converging cultures and ideologies. RISING SUN, FALLING SHADOW continues the story of the Adler family through 1943, the bleakest year in war-torn Shanghai.

His books have been translated into eleven languages, and two have been optioned for feature films.

Daniel received his MD from the University of British Columbia. He is married and the proud father of two girls in a home predominated by the XX chromosome (even his beloved Labrador retriever, Lola, is female.)

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
https://danielkalla.com/

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Vincent Lam and Daniel Kalla

THE PATIENCE OF A DEAD MAN by Michael Clark will keep you reading long into the night and will make you terrified to be alone. This is Horror exactly how horror should be written

Title: THE PATIENCE OF A DEAD MAN

Series: THE PATIENCE OF A DEAD MAN SERIES: BOOK ONE

Author: MICHAEL CLARK

Genre: FICTION, HORROR

Length: 369 PAGES

Publisher: SELF-PUBLISHED

Received From: THE AUTHOR

Release Date: APRIL 15, 2019

ISBN: 9781733790420

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Tim Russell had it all: A successful contracting business with eight employees, two beautiful daughters, and a pretty wife…but it all fell to pieces when she asked for a divorce.

Now a year later, he’s a free man with nothing to do but try and pick up the pieces. His company has been liquidated and he’s down to one employee. He rents an apartment and is bored with the prospect of starting over; having to build his business from the bottom up…

…all over again.

Left with a dwindling bank account and searching for inspiration, he invests in a fixer-upper farmhouse in New Hampshire. Betting on himself and his construction background, the plan is to work on (and live in) the house for a year, then sell it for profit.

But who is the woman he sees in his field? And who flies the red kite from the middle of the forest? Does it have something to do with the fact that the previous owner was found dead in the master bedroom three years back? Or is that just the tip of the iceberg?

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MY REVIEW:

Firstly I want to mention the exquisitely terror inducing cover of this book. The color scheme along with the inclusion of buzzing flies instantly tells the potential reader this is a horror story. The shadowy figures that are slightly blurred adds to the sense of impending doom. Even the choice of font is perfect. The cover of THE PATIENCE OF A DEAD MAN is exactly the type of cover that would catch my eye and would prompt me to pick this book up in a bookstore and/or library.

When our protagonist (Tim Russell) is being shown the fixer-upper farmhouse in New Hampshire, he asks the realtor for information about the former owner who’d died in the home. However, he quickly realizes that his questions might be in poor taste and hurriedly tries to reassure his realtor, Holly Burns, that the woman’s death and his interest in the details is because he finds it “morbidly fascinating.” I absolutely love this phrase. I often read horror, true crime and biographies and I now have the perfect way to answer those who ask why I read books of those genres. From now on I am going to tell anyone who asks, that I read these books because they are “morbidly fascinating.” A big thank you to the author for providing me with this new, and succinct phrase.

The storyline of a haunted house is not new, but I would be willing to bet money that this book is unlike any other haunted house book readers have experienced so far.

THE PATIENCE OF A DEAD MAN is wonderfully twisted and tangled and readers cannot help but be caught up in it’s web.

So, Tim, the newly divorced Contractor decides to purchase the house and to live in it while he fixes and improves it. After that he will sell the property along with the upgraded house for (hopefully) a tidy profit.

There is only one flaw in the plan … Tim had no idea that the house’s original owner had never left and her antics are starting to scare him.

To find out why I say THE PATIENCE OF A DEAD MAN is unlike any other haunted house book, you need to buy a copy and find out for yourself.

With a wickedly spooky atmosphere, a dose of a secretive past, a hint of romance and enough unexpected elements to keep you intrigued, THE PATIENCE OF A DEAD MAN needs to be on your TO READ list. If you do not pick up a copy of this book, you will truly be missing out. Who knows? You just might be reading the first book written by the next Stephen King.

Luckily, DEAD WOMAN SCORNED, which is the next book in the series is already available and I can’t wait to dive into it.

I rate THE PATIENCE OF A DEAD MAN as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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***Thank you to Michael Clark for providing me with a free copy of this book.***

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ADD TO GOODREADS

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QUOTE I LOVED FROM THE BOOK:

“He imagined when the seasons changed, he might lose some sleep to horny bullfrogs calling out for a mate.”

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Michael Clark was raised in New Hampshire and lived in the house The Patience of a Dead Man is based on.

The bats of the barn really circled the rafters all day and there actually was a man-made grove hidden in the forest.

He now lives in Massachusetts with his wife Josi and his dog Bubba.

The Patience of a Dead Man is his first novel. Dead Woman Scorned is his second with more to come.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
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GOODREADS
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FACEBOOK
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INSTAGRAM
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TWITTER
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MEDIUM.COM
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REDDIT
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AMAZON
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MY REVIEW OF THE SECOND BOOK IN THIS TERRIFYING HORROR SERIES IS COMING SOON

FRAGILE REMEDY by Maria Ingrande Mora is an upcoming 2020 Young Adult Dystopian Fiction novel with LGBTQ characters and written by a Queer Author. It is a 5 STAR Read that I was unable to put down.

Title: FRAGILE REMEDY

Author: MARIA INGRANDE MORA

Genre: FICTION, YOUNG ADULT FICTION, SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY, LGBTQ, QUEER YOUNG ADULT FICTION, DYSTOPIAN FICTION,  SPECULATIVE FICTION

Length: 400 PAGES

Publisher: FLUX BOOKS – A Division of  NORTHSTAR EDITIONS

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: JUNE 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-63583-057-6 (EBOOK)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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DESCRIPTION:

Sixteen-year-old Nate is a Gem—a Genetically Engineered Medical Surrogate—created by Gathos City scientists as a cure for the elite from the fatal lung rot ravaging the population. As a child, Nate was smuggled out of the laboratory where he was held captive and into the Withers—a quarantined, lawless region. He manages to survive by becoming a Tinker, fixing broken tech in exchange for food or a safe place to sleep. When he meets Reed, a kind and fiercely protective boy that makes his heart race, and his misfit gang of scavengers, Nate finds the family he’s always longed for—even if he can’t risk telling them what he is.

But Gathos created a genetic failsafe in their Gems—a flaw in their DNA that causes their health to rapidly deteriorate as they age unless they are regularly dosed with medication controlled by Gathos City. When violence erupts across the Withers, Nate’s illegal supply of medicine is cut off, and a vicious attack on Reed threatens to expose his secret. With time running out, Nate is left with only two options: work for a shadowy terrorist organization that has the means to keep him alive, or stay—and die—with the boy he loves.
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MY REVIEW:

“His kind had been developed by scientists to fight the lung-rot outbreak, and later — when the lung-rot was gone — to be used up. Harvested by the wealthy. Kept endlessly asleep or left awake to participate in the horror of it. At least that’s what people said when they whispered about GEMs…Genetically Engineered Medi-tissue. He wasn’t supposed to be here.”

Nate is sixteen and an abomination. At least, that is what he had been told. He knew he wasn’t like everyone else in the Withers. He was starving and scraping together a meager existence, just like everyone else who had the bad luck to live in The Withers – a slum filled with people who would not hesitate to kill you for food, or for anything they could use to trade for Chem to feed their addiction.

Nate knew that if the members of his gang discovered he was a GEM, they would either kill him for putting their lives in danger, or they would turn him over to the Breakers – never to be seen again. He didn’t want to put his friend’s lives in danger, especially Reed’s, but he loved being a gang member, they were the closest thing he had to a family. And, although he had never admitted it out loud, he not only loved Reed, he was also IN LOVE with him.

Just surviving the streets of The Withers was challenge enough, but Nate had another problem, his genetically engineered DNA (and that of all GEMs) had been modified so that his body would deteriorate and he would perish before ever reaching adulthood. He needed to find a way to survive, and he knew it would not be easy.

The world-building in FRAGILE REMEDY is second to none. With vivid descriptions of the slums known as The Withers so descriptive it is impossible not to form pictures of it in your mind. I love the fact that the world in which Nate lives is comprised of islands, and instead of water separating each island, and each social class, from the other, there is a vast ocean of toxic sludge which is fatal once submersed in it.

There are numerous parallels between our own society and the issues planet Earth is currently experiencing to the world of FRAGILE REMEDY. For example:

The society in FRAGILE REMEDY is segregated between the ‘Haves’ and the ‘Have Nots.’  The high class citizens live in the Towers of Gathos City and never leave their perfect lives to see how anyone else lives. It is these people who create and keep GEMs so that they can extend their own lives by using the GEMs blood and body parts. This may sound far fetched, but cloning already exists, and stem cells are already being used in medical treatments. Is it really so unbelievable that in humanity’s quest to extend human lives, something like creating a clone for the purpose of using ‘it’ as a personal organ bank may be inevitable.

Of course, it would be expensive to create a clone, so only the uber-rich would be able to afford such a luxury, thus creating another socioeconomic division amongst the world’s population.

Once the clones are created, the rich clone owners would want to protect their assets. This could easily lead to physical segregation similar to that of the islands on which Nate has spent the entirety of his sixteen years of life.

ADDICTION is another of the central themes of FRAGILE REMEDY. Instead of being addicted to alcohol or opiods, the addicts in this story are fiends for a substance known as Chem. “They’d all been regular people once. People who’d made choices – good and bad. Chem had wrenched those choices out of their hands.”

Another theme is HOPE. In FRAGILE REMEDY, Nate may not have many possessions, and he is aware that he will die sooner rather than later, but he still has hope. He hopes that he can do some good before he dies. He hopes that Reed feels the same way about Nate as Nate feels about Reed. And in a wider sense, the inhabitants of The Withers scrounge a meager living on a daily basis, but they still have hope that at some point, the doors to Gathos City will open to admit them.

I love the fact that the characters in this story are diverse and multi-faceted. Sparks is Trans, Nate is Gay, Alden is Queer, and other characters are Cisgender. Skin color is so rarely mentioned that I chose to believe that it was not a factor in their society.

Central to the story and to life in both Gathos City and in The Withers is the ethics of cloning as well as the question of what it is that truly makes a person human. With the increasingly complex technology and the numerous companies and laboratories working on the advancement of A.I. (Artificial Intelligence,)

There are plots and subplots, there are individual histories for each character, there is the storyline where  their lives intersect. There are romances and romantic entanglements that will satisfy even the most diehard romantic. And, finally, there is the theme of Family, and the fact that sometimes the people you choose to invest your emotions in make a more loyal family than those who share your DNA.

I started reading  this book yesterday morning and was unable (and unwilling) to put it down. I spent twelve straight hours reading FRAGILE REMEDY and they were hours well spent.

There is only one rating I would even consider giving to this book and that is the best possible one. So, I rate FRAGILE REMEDY as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and am sincerely hoping that author MARIA INGRANDE MORA is planning to write additional books in this series. I will be first in line to grab a copy of any book she writes.

*** Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book ***
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FAVORITE QUOTES:

“He [Nate] longed for the simplicity of believing in something good. He’d seen too much of the bad to have faith.”
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“He had no right to love Reed. But the soft, private smile on Reed’s lips when their eyes met still sent a current of affection through him.”
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“Nate approached slowly, the way hungry kids stalked sludge-rats.”
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“‘They’ll make him sleep like they do in Gathos City.’ His voice went ragged. ‘They’ll cut him apart. What were you thinking coming here?'”
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“I feel the need to remind you that my grandmother also believed that the cockroaches in her bedroom were trying to get a look at her knickers.”
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Maria Ingrande Mora (she/her) is Content Director at Big Sea, a digital marketing agency in St. Petersburg, Florida. A graduate of the University of Florida, she has been working in digital media since 2002. Maria specializes in identifying brand narratives and translating them into messaging that doesn’t feel like marketing.

Maria is the single mom of a tween and a teen, and the roomate of two cats and two dogs.

She identifies as bisexual, and hopes that it isn’t super weird of her to outright say, because representation and visibility matter.

If she isn’t writing, revising, or at work, please tell her to go to bed.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
https://www.mariamora.net

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PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE
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https://t.co/Av9RMbehc8
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THE WIVES by Best-Selling Author TARRYN FISHER will be released December 30th A psychological thriller that will BLOW YOUR MIND

Title: THE WIVES

Author: TARRYN FISHER

Genre: FICTION, SUSPENSE, PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER

Length: 320 PAGES

Publisher: HARPER COLLINS

Received From: THE PUBLISHER via GOODREADS GIVEAWAYS

Release Date: DECEMBER 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-525-80978-1

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Imagine that your husband has two other wives.

You’ve never met the other wives. None of you know each other, and because of this unconventional arrangement, you can see your husband only one day a week. But you love him so much you don’t care. Or at least that’s what you’ve told yourself.

But one day, while you’re doing laundry, you find a scrap of paper in his pocket—an appointment reminder for a woman named Hannah, and you just know it’s another of the wives.

You thought you were fine with your arrangement, but you can’t help yourself: you track her down, and, under false pretenses, you strike up a friendship. Hannah has no idea who you really are. Then, Hannah starts showing up to your coffee dates with telltale bruises, and you realize she’s being abused by her husband. Who, of course, is also your husband. But you’ve never known him to be violent, ever.

Who exactly is your husband, and how far would you go to find the truth? Would you risk your own life?

And who is his mysterious third wife?

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MY REVIEW:

“What has happened to me? How have I become this docile person, living for Thursdays and the love of a man who divides himself so thinly among three women? If you’d told nineteen-year-old me that this would be my life, she’d have laughed in your face.”

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Our protagonist’s name is Thursday. She is a grown woman with a nursing career. She is in decent shape and has large breasts which she knows draw men’s attention, and they are real, not fake. She owns a condo and has renovated and decorated it. She has a husband who adores her and their sex life is amazing.

Her life sounds pretty good doesn’t it?

Well, what if you now add in the fact that your loving husband has two more wives. Would you still see her life as a good one?

Thursday does. She has never had an issue with the fact that her husband, Seth, has three wives. He was honest about it right from the beginning of their relationship.

But, it’s human nature to be curious and when she finds a piece of paper in the pocket of his pants that contains the name Hannah, she decides to find out more about her.

Sometimes it is better not to snoop. Once you discover something, you can’t ‘un-know’ it.

Thursday strikes up a friendship with Hannah who does not know that she and Thursday are married to the same man. Or are they? Did Thursday get it wrong?

As the story progresses readers will doubt everything they thought they knew and maybe that is a good thing – or maybe not!!!

This is a psychological thriller of the highest caliber and will no doubt be on many bestseller lists and will more than likely receive multiple literary awards.

I would love to be able to peek inside the brain of author TARRYN FISHER. I imagine it would be a vast and terrifying place full of paths that twist, turn and even double back around each other.

I rate THE WIVES as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Make sure to write down DECEMBER 30th so that you can pick up your copy as soon as it is released. Or, better yet, pre-order your copy from your favorite bookstore now!

****Thank you to Goodreads Giveaways for providing me with an ARC copy of this book.****

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FAVORITE QUOTE:
“Secrets: I’m good at having them and keeping them.”

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Tarryn is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author.

She lives in Seattle with her children and husband.

Her heart is dark but she loves you with it anyway.

Tarryn is the founder of Guise of the Villain, a fashion blog, and has written twelve published novels.

Tarryn is a Slytherin.

According to Dictionary.com

What does Slytherin mean?

Slytherin is one of the four houses of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series.
Each house has a set of traits and characteristics associated with it, and those in Slytherin are known for being ambitious, cunning, and resourceful.
Slytherins are also sometimes regarded as being evil thanks to the fact that many of the most sinister witches and wizards have been associated with this house.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
http://www.tarrynfisher.com

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GOODREADS IS HOSTING A GIVEAWAY FOR 50 ARC COPIES OF THIS BOOK.

– Giveaway only runs until October 31st, so Enter Soon by clicking HERE or on the photo below:

THE WINTER SISTERS by Tim Westover is a book that will stay with you long after the final page

Title: THE WINTER SISTERS

Author: TIM WESTOVER

Genre: FICTION, HISTORICAL FICTION

Length: 322 PAGES

Publisher: QW PUBLISHERS

The Winter Sisters: A Novel

Received From: NETGALLEY
https://www.netgalley.com/catalog/book/172559

Release Date: AUGUST 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-9849748-9-4

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Folklore, medicine, witches, and superstition in the Georgia mountains.

Dr. Waycross knows bleeding and blistering, the best scientific medicine of 1822. He arrives in the Georgia mountains to bring his modern methods to the superstitious masses. But the local healers, the Winter sisters, claim to treat yellow fever, consumption, and the hell-roarin’ trots just as well as he can. Some folks call the sisters “Herb Women;” some call them “Witches.” Waycross calls them “Quacks.”

But when the threat of rabies—incurable and fatal—comes to town, Dr. Waycross and the Winter sisters must combine their science and superstition in a desperate search for a remedy.

Can they find a miracle cure, or has the age of miracles passed?

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ALL AUTHOR PROCEEDS FROM THIS NOVEL ARE BEING DONATED TO CHILDREN’S HEALTHCARE OF ATLANTA – CHILD LIFE DEPARTMENT
Over $10,000 donated since August 9, 2019!
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MY REVIEW:

1811 in the mountains of northern Georgia, three sisters stand upon a bare mountain plateau. These women are the Winter sisters. They are using wax to try to determine their futures.

Ten years later, the Winter sisters are no longer living in the village. The new Preacher has succeeded in turning some of the townspeople against them, successfully running them out of town.

The Winter sisters are sometimes called healers and sometimes called witches, it depends on the person who is speaking, and also who might be listening.

Art by SUSAN FARRELL

The sisters might be young, but they know herbal remedies for most ailments and have ministered to the residents of their small frontier town for years.

Art by Susan Farrell

When the town recruits a doctor from the city, he arrives ready to educate these backwater hicks as to how science and the latest techniques of medicine will cure all their ills.

However, when he arrives and keeps hearing about the Winter sisters and their supposed cures, he sets out to discredit them.

What happens next surprises the doctor, the Winter sisters and everyone reading this book. I thoroughly enjoyed the fact that you are unable to predict what will happen at any given moment in this story. It kept me guessing, which is rare.

National Park Service Photo

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THE WINTER SISTERS is a fabulous book with terrific characters and a story that will stay with you long after the final page.

The descriptions both of people’s lives and of the sceney and setting are so vivid that readers can picture tem so clearly it is almost as if you create a movie in your head as to how everything and everyone looks.

Photo by John Rice Irwin, Sept. 1979

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I rate this book as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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***Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book. ***
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QUOTE:

“I never treat hopeless cases. The age of miracles is past.”
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TO ORDER SIGNED COPIES OF THIS TERRIFIC BOOK, CLICK HERE.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Tim Westover, a graduate of Davidson College and the University of Georgia, lives in suburban Atlanta. Born in the north, educated in England, and frequent visitor to Russia, he found his home in the North Georgia mountains.

Russell Farm Historic Site –
Mountain Rest, SC

The foundations of a nameless old house on the backstreets of Lawrenceville

In addition to writing, Westover enjoys programming, playing the clawhammer banjo, and raising his three-year-old daughter to be a modern American eccentric.

Tim playing the PANjo

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
https://www.timwestover.com/

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THE FAMILIAR DARK by the mega-talented AMY ENGEL will be released in March 2020. I was lucky enough to receive a review copy and it is AMAZING. Read on to find out more

Title: THE FAMILIAR DARK

Author: AMY ENGEL

Genre: FICTION, MYSTERIES AND THRILLERS

Length: 256 PAGES

Publisher: PENGUIN GROUP DUTTON

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: MARCH 21, 2020

ISBN: 9781524745950

Price: $26.00 USD

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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DESCRIPTION:

A spellbinding story of a mother with nothing left to lose who sets out on an all-consuming quest for justice after her daughter is murdered on the town playground.

Sometimes the answers are worse than the questions. Sometimes it’s better not to know.

Set in the poorest part of the Missouri Ozarks, in a small town with big secrets, The Familiar Dark opens with a murder. Eve Taggert, desperate with grief over losing her daughter, takes it upon herself to find out the truth about what happened. Eve is no stranger to the dark side of life, having been raised by a hard-edged mother whose lessons Eve tried not to pass on to her own daughter. But Eve may need her mother’s cruel brand of strength if she’s going to face the reality about her daughter’s death and about her own true nature. Her quest for justice takes her from the seedy underbelly of town to the quiet woods and, most frighteningly, back to her mother’s trailer for a final lesson.

The Familiar Dark is a story about the bonds of family—women doing the best they can for their daughters in dire circumstances—as well as a story about how even the darkest and most terrifying of places can provide the comfort of home.

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MY REVIEW:

THE FAMILIAR DARK takes place in one of the poorest portions of the Missouri Ozarks.

The story begins with the death of two 12-year-old girls – Best Friends – Izzy and Junie.

Eve Taggert is a single mother. She has loved her daughter Junie with an intensity that surprised Eve and which began when Junie drew her first tiny breath. On that day, Eve’s once wild life was flipped onto it’s head. She knew that she had to be a better mother to Junie than her mother had been to her and her brother Cal (short for Caleb). And ever since that day Eve had showered Junie with love and worked hard to provide for their tiny, two-person household.

But, when Eve learns that Junie and her best friend Izzy had been brutally murdered, she begins to fall apart. After all, what was the point of changing her life and becoming a contributing member of society of her daughter if it led to the death of her only child?

With dogged determination and a fierce need to identify the killer, Eve takes it upon herself to find out the truth about what happened.

As Eve begins to search for answers in her daughter’s slaying, old hurts, secrets and betrayals she had thought long buried are brought to light.

In fact, the twists in this tale are so numerous that readers will have a difficult time figuring out who the killer(s) is/are. As soon as you think you have a handle on all the players, you need to think again.

Author AMY ENGEL has captured perfectly the depth of a mother’s love and protective instincts for her child. She has portrayed the anger and resentment of a mother towards the perpetrator of the murder to perfection.

Although this novel is a mystery, a thriller, a whodunit, it is unlike any other thriller readers have encountered previously. The story focuses on relationships – on family ties.

THE FAMILIAR DARK is also a story about poverty and the fact that when you are poor, your life choices are limited. When you are working hard every day just to put food on the table and a roof over your head, there is little energy left at the end of the day.

Once her child was taken from her in the most violent and traumatic way possible, Eve is devastated. Despite the fact that her brother, Cal, is a cop, Eve decides to launch her own investigation.

As Eve dogs deeper and deeper into the criminal underbelly of her small town, she begins to discover that there are many secrets there and that some people will do anything to ensure those secrets are never revealed.

This story roars along like a high-speed freight train and readers will need to hang on for the ride of their lives.

I rate THE FAMILIAR DARK as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

***Thank you to #NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book.***

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Photo Credit: Trish Brown Photography

Amy Engel is the author of THE BOOK OF IVY young adult series.

A former criminal defense attorney, she lives in Missouri with her family.

Photo Credit: Trish Brown Photography

THE ROANOKE GIRLS was her first novel for adults. She also authored THE IVY SERIES of Young Adult books.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
http://amyengel.net/

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Only two days until the release of THE GRACE YEAR by KIM LIGGETT – One of the best books of 2019 and one you do not want to miss

Title: THE GRACE YEAR

Author: KIM LIGGETT

Genre: FICTION, YOUNG ADULT FICTION, SPECULATIVE FICTION, DYSTOPIAN FICTION, FEMINIST FICTION

Length: 416 PAGES

Publisher: ST. MARTIN’S PRESSWEDNESDAY BOOKS

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: OCTOBER 8, 2019

ISBN: 9781250145444

Price: $16.99 USD

Rating: 5+ OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

No one speaks of the grace year. It’s forbidden. Girls are told they have the power to lure grown men from their beds, drive women mad with jealousy. They believe their very skin emits a powerful aphrodisiac, the potent essence of youth, of a girl on the edge of womanhood. That’s why they’re banished for their sixteenth year, to release their magic into the wild so they can return purified and ready for marriage. But not all of them will make it home alive.

Sixteen-year-old Tierney James dreams of a better life—a society that doesn’t pit friend against friend or woman against woman, but as her own grace year draws near, she quickly realizes that it’s not just the brutal elements they must fear. It’s not even the poachers in the woods, men who are waiting for their chance to grab one of the girls in order to make their fortune on the black market. Their greatest threat may very well be each other.

With sharp prose and gritty realism, The Grace Year examines the complex and sometimes twisted relationships between girls, the women they eventually become, and the difficult decisions they make in-between.

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ELIZABETH BANKS TO DIRECT AND PRODUCE THE GRACE YEAR FOR UNIVERSAL PICTURES.

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MY REVIEW:

I just finished reading Kim Liggett’s upcoming novel THE GRACE YEAR which releases in only two days and it has quickly become one of my favorite books of all time.

A mixture of several styles of books including Dystopian fiction, horror, speculative fiction, literary fiction, mysteries, thrillers, dramas and feminist fiction, this book is all-around phenomenal. Reminiscent of a mixture of The Hunger Games, The Handmaid’s Tale, Lord of the Flies and Gathering Blue.

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READ THE KIRKUS REVIEW OF THE GRACE YEAR BY CLICKING HERE!!!
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Magic, lies, deception, discrimination, madness, despair and the tiniest flutterings of rebellion abound in this exceptional work of Speculative fiction perfect for our current generation of young women.

Set in a future world where women are the possessions of men. At birth, their feet are branded with the sigil of their fathers. They remain in his possession until the day when a man gives them a veil, signifying the transfer of ownership from father to their betrothed and eventual husband. The women have no choice. They cannot say no. If there are more women than men, the extra women are sent to work in the necessary and difficult menial labor of ensuring the survival of the entire colony.

Sounds horrific already, right? Well, as usually occurs in life, it gets worse. This is due to the ritual of The Grace Year. Every year, the girls who turn sixteen years old are sent out into the wild for a full year. Not all of those who leave the colony will return. The dangers are numerous and since speaking of The Grace Year is forbidden, the girls know almost nothing of the situations they are about to encounter.

Sixteen year old Tierney James is not like the rest of the girls her age who titter and smile coyly at the village’s young men in hopes of receiving a veil from one of them. Tierney has zero desire to be a wife. As she sees it, “There’s no freedom in comfort. They’re padded shackles, to be sure, but shackles nonetheless.”

Tierney dreams of a better life. A better world. One in which the women are free to speak their minds. She hopes for the women to come together and to work together to make everyone’s lives better. Unfortunately, this is exceedingly unlikely.

What the girls experience during their Grace Year changes each and every one of them in different ways, and author Kim Liggett has done a fabulous job of getting into the minds of her characters. I literally could not put this book down. At 416 pages, it should have taken at least a few days to read, but I couldn’t wait that long and finished the book within eighteen hours. Eighteen hours where I chose to forgo sleep and I do not regret a single second. My only complaint is that I wish the next book in the series was available already. If so, I would willingly give up sleep once more just to discover what happens next.

I believe this book will be on everyone’s reading list and that Bestseller status will be bestowed upon it very quickly. Books are rated on a scale of one to five stars, with five being the best. However, this book is deserving of more than just five stars. In fact, I am bestowing upon it my highest, most coveted rating: I rate THE GRACE YEAR as 5+ OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

***Thank you very much to #NetGalley and the Publisher for providing me with a free copy of this book. ***

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

At sixteen, Kim Liggett left her rural midwestern town for New York City to pursue a career in music. Along with lending her voice to hundreds of studio recordings, she was a backup singer for some of the biggest rock bands in the 80’s.

Kim spends her free time studying the tarot and scouring Manhattan for vials of rare perfume and the perfect egg white cocktail.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
http://www.kimliggett.com

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HANDS UP by Stephen Clark has been released and is a story that seems ripped from the headlines. You NEED to check out this book

Title: HANDS UP

Author: STEPHEN CLARK

Genre: FICTION, MYSTERIES AND THRILLERS, SOCIAL THEMES

Length: 290 PAGES

Publisher: WiDō PUBLISHING

Received From: THE AUTHOR

Release Date: SEPTEMBER 28, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-947966-20-8

Rating: 4.5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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DESCRIPTION:

Officer Ryan Quinn, a rookie raised in a family of cops, is on the fast track to detective until he shoots an unarmed black male. Now, with his career, reputation and freedom on the line, he embarks on a quest for redemption that forces him to confront his fears and biases and choose between conscience or silence.

Jade Wakefield is an emotionally damaged college student living in one of Philadelphia’s worst neighborhoods. She knows the chances of getting an indictment against the cop who killed her brother are slim. When she learns there’s more to the story than the official police account, Jade is determined, even desperate, to find out what really happened. She plans to get revenge by any means necessary.

Kelly Randolph, who returns to Philadelphia broke and broken after abandoning his family ten years earlier, seeks forgiveness while mourning the death of his son. But after he’s thrust into the spotlight as the face of the protest movement, his disavowed criminal past resurfaces and threatens to derail the family’s pursuit of justice.

Ryan, Jade, and Kelly–three people from different worlds—are on a collision course after the shooting, as their lives interconnect and then spiral into chaos.

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MY REVIEW:

This is a timely novel because of the very real increase in the number of police shootings of unarmed, young black men in the United States.

HANDS UP begins with Tyrell Wakefield being shot by rookie police officer Ryan Quinn. According to the police, the young man had punched Ryan’s older partner and was attempting to grab his gun.

However, Tyrell’s sister, Jade, finds that story very unlikely, as does her mother. So, Jade is determined to find out what really happened.

When Jade’s maternal Aunt turns Tyrell’s death into a #BlackLivesMatter rallying cry, the press get ahold of the story and it becomes bigger than Jade ever expected. It also brings an unexpected person back into the lives of Jade and the rest of her family and he is definitely NOT welcome.

Meanwhile, Ryan Quinn is horrified with what he has done. He never wanted to shoot anyone and he has never thought of himself as the racist monster he is being portrayed as. In fact, his police officer father was killed in the line of duty when Ryan was young, so he is accutely aware of the pain caused by losing a loved one to gun violence. Now, Ryan has a decision to make. Should he be loyal to the police and his partner? Or should he follow his heart and his conscience?

I enjoyed this book even more than I had anticipated. I had some idea of how the tale would unfold, but I was pleasantly surprised. This is not a predictable read and author Stephen Clark has created characters of depth and complexity.

In addition to the obvious issue of police shootings, several other social issues are also part of this story. In my opinion, this makes the story seem even more realistic. Police shootings do not happen in a vacuum and there are almost always several factors that contribute to the tragedy.
In DON’T SHOOT, racism by the police is not the only problem. The area in which the shooting takes place is poverty-stricken due to lack of education and employment opportunities, gang violence, a lack of social programs and much more.

On top of the above problems, this story also talks about homelessness, single parenting, divorce, abandonment, addiction, cutting, and even suicide. The author does a fabulous job of describing these issues and how each of them has affected the lives of the characters, and how a single issue can affect different individuals in different ways.

With non-stop action, current events, exquisitely complicated characters and a twisting plot, HANDS UP is a fantastic and must read, newly released novel.

This IS most definitely a book worthy of being on your “To Read” list. In fact, I will not be surprised when HANDS UP becomes an award-winning novel.

I rate this book as 4.5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐ and would like to thank the author for sending me a copy of this book.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Stephen Clark is a former award-winning journalist who served as a staff writer for the Los Angeles Times and as a politics editor for the Washington, D.C. bureau of FoxNews.com. As a reporter for the Utica Observer-Dispatch, he won a New York Newspaper Publishers Association Award of Distinguished Community Service for his investigation into the financial struggles of nonprofit services.

He also won a Society of Professional Journalists Award for Investigative Reporting at the Stamford Advocate for his series exposing an elderly grifter’s charity organization.

Stephen grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia and now lives in North Jersey with his wife and son.

He has a bachelor’s degree in communications from Arcadia University and a master’s degree in journalism from Syracuse University.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

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A LITTLE BIT PSYCHO by Debut Author J.L. Strange is destined for the New York Times Bestseller List – Coming October 28th, 2019 – Love Horror? You HAVE TO Read This Book

Title: A LITTLE BIT PSYCHO
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Author: J.L. STRANGE
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Genre: FICTION, HORROR, THRILLER

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Publisher: SELF-PUBLISHED

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Received From: NETGALLEY
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Release Date: OCTOBER 28, 2019

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ISBN: 978-1393852032

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Price: $5.99 (USD)

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Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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DESCRIPTION:

Katherine is terminally ill.

Her husband Adam is an innovative surgeon with the technology to save her.

When Katherine wakes in an unfamiliar hospital room, she discovers her brain has been transplanted into the body of a man and Adam is nowhere to be found. This is where her nightmare begins.

She must find Adam at all costs, even if that means pretending to be someone she’s not.

But something is wrong inside her. Very wrong…

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MY REVIEW:

Worcester, Massachusetts is not one of the places that come to mind when thinking about medical or scientific breakthroughs. This tale will change that perspective.

Katherine has devoted her life to her husband and his work. He promises to change the landscape of medicine forever.

When Katherine learns she has Stage IV cancer and that it continues to spread rapidly, she knows it is going to kill her. However, Adam has a plan. He says he has perfected the Brain Transplant procedure and a plan is put in place.

Many things go right. Katherine is alive. Her constant, excruciating pain is gone. But … Something has also gone drastically wrong. When she awakens from her coma, she discovers that instead of using the body they had chosen together, Adam has instead trapped her inside the body of ……… a man.

Imagine her shock. Imagine the betrayal she feels. Imagine how ridiculously strange it would feel to have a man’s body and a woman’s brain. She is living a nightmare and her “husband” is nowhere to be found.

This is where the real nightmare begins…

I was sucked into this story from the very first chapter and I just couldn’t put this book down.

Delving deep into her character’s (and her reader’s) psyches, the author taps into the universal fear of being trapped. Whether someone is buried alive, or is trapped inside the body of another, either way, it is the fear of helplessness that every human being harbors deep inside.

It is amazing to me that A LITTLE BIT PSYCHO is author J.L. Strange’s debut novel. Her writing reminds me of some of the truly great horror authors of our time, including Robin Cook, Stephen King and Dean Koontz, yet she also has a style all her own.

I am 100% certain J.L. Strange is a writer to watch and I fully expect to see her name gracing multiple Bestseller Lists.

I rate A LITTLE BIT PSYCHO as 5+ OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and I encourage everyone reading this review to mark your calendars for October 28th, 2019 and to purchase a copy of this terrifying story, or better yet, go ahead and pre-order a copy today to be among the first to discover this astounding new talent on the horror author scene. You will be glad you did.

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**I would like to say a special thank you to #NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book.**

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

J.L. Strange writes unsettling psychological horror with a sci-fi twist. She was born and raised on Cape Cod, Massachusetts and studied animation at Rhode Island School of Design. Telling stories became an obsession, although she still creates art whenever the mood strikes. A single mother with a newly empty nest and lover of all things outdoors, she’s currently pursuing life’s next adventure.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
www.authorjlstrange.com/

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THE MISSING ONES by Edwin Hill is a 5 Star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 Thriller where fact and fiction collide

Title: THE MISSING ONES
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Series: HESTER THURSBY MYSTERIES: BOOK TWO

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Author: EDWIN HILL
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Genre: FICTION, MYSTERIES AND THRILLERS

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Length: 304 PAGES

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Publisher: KENSINGTON BOOKS
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Received From: NETGALLEY
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Release Date: AUGUST 27, 2019

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ISBN: 9781496719331

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Price: $26.00 USD (HARDCOVER)

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Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Hester Thursby has given up using her research skills to trace people who don’t want to be found. A traumatic case a few months ago unearthed a string of violent crimes, and left Hester riddled with self-doubt and guilt.

Caring for a four-year-old is responsibility enough in a world filled with terrors Hester never could have imagined before.

Finisterre Island, off the coast of Maine, is ruggedly beautiful and remote—the kind of place tourists love to visit, though rarely for long. But not everyone who comes to the island is welcome. A dilapidated Victorian house has become home to a group of squatters and junkies, and strangers have a habit of bringing trouble with them. A young boy disappeared during the summer, and though he was found safely, the incident stirred suspicion among locals. Now another child is missing. Summoned to the island by a cryptic text, Hester discovers a community cleaning up from a devastating storm—and uncovers a murder.

Soon Hester begins to connect the crime and the missing children. And as she untangles the secrets at the center of the small community, she finds grudges and loyalties that run deep, poised to converge with a force that will once again shake her convictions about the very nature of right and wrong . . .

MY REVIEW:

Although this is the second book in the Hester Thursby Series and I haven’t read the first book, it did not hinder my enjoyment of this book in the slightest. In fact, THE MISSING ONES works well as a standalone novel.

Hester Thursby is not your typical heroine. She is neurotic, she is hugely overprotective of her four year old niece, Kate, who has been left in her care. In fact, even though she has a valid reason for being overprotective, it is still over-the-top. In summary, she is a realistic character. She isn’t perfect, not by a long shot, and that is why I like her.

This story is a timely one in that it addresses the Opiod Crisis that has infiltrated every aspect of life in North America. It showcases the fact that addiction crosses all socioeconomic boundaries and can (and does) happen to even the most law-abiding families.

There are multiple twists to this story and as soon as you think you know who the perpetrator is, you discover a new fact that makes you doubt your theory.

I rate THE MISSING ONES as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

** Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book.**

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

(c) Thomas Bollinger

Edwin Hill is the author of the critically-acclaimed Hester Thursby mystery series.

His first novel, LITTLE COMFORT, was nominated for an Agatha Award for best debut.

The second in the series, THE MISSING ONES, will be available in September. He lives in Roslindale, Massachusetts with his partner Michael and his favorite reviewer, their lab Edith Ann, who likes his first drafts enough to eat them.

To hear an Interview with Edwin Hill on the WRITER’S BONE PODCAST click HERE.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

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