THE ART OF DYING – A multiple award winning Horror novel that will have you sleeping with the lights on for a very long time ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Five Stars out of Five

Title: THE ART OF DYING

Series: A RAY HANLEY CRIME THRILLER BOOK 1

Author: DERIK CAVIGNANO

Genre: FICTION, THRILLERS & MYSTERIES, HORROR

Length:  322 PAGES

Publisher: DARK CORNERS PRESS

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: SEPTEMBER 20, 2019

ISBN: 9781733873307 (Paperback)

Price: $12.99 USD (Paperback)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

A CRIME THRILLER REMINISCENT OF THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS AND THE DEPARTED.

When the bizarre death of a mob foot soldier sparks an escalating war between Boston’s Irish and Italian mafia, Detective Ray Hanley’s relentless search for the truth uncovers evidence of a serial killer obsessed with the art of human suffering.

As the body count rises, Detective Hanley must navigate a minefield of crime families, dirty politicians, and crooked cops, while matching wits with a deranged serial killer.

But temptation, betrayal, and death threaten to derail the investigation… and justice doesn’t come without a price.

MY REVIEW:

The Granite Rail Quarries hadn’t been used to mine granite since the ’60s. Since then, the sheer cliffs and onyx waters made it a favorite dumping ground for stolen cars, shipping carts and, of course, the occasional body.”

THE ART OF DYING begs to be made into a movie. When and if a movie is made based on this book, it will be an instant Blockbuster. With the visual aspect of the killer’s crimes, and the book’s exceptional detail, it almost seems as if this book was written with a future movie script in mind.

I tried to think of books or other authors that I might be able to compare to THE ART OF DYING and the book that instantly came to mind was “Silence of the Lambs” by Thomas Harris. That bestselling book has a creepiness factor that is often missing in contemporary horror novels. That “creepiness factor” is amped way up in THE ART OF DYING which makes it an unforgettable reading experience.

In fact, in trying to think of  additional comparisons, I was transported back to the first time I read “CARRIE” by Stephen King. The unexpected element of “Carrie” was probably the most haunting. In this, “The Art of Dying” actually surpasses “Carrie.”

THE ART OF DYING is not just a scary book. It is much more than that. Horror is definitely the appropriate genre for this book. However, I do not want to mislead potential readers. This is NOT a Gore-Fest. (Although there are some extremely grisly details where the story demands them.) It is a meticulously plotted thriller and mystery and is a study in the intricacies of the depravity that can exist within the human mind.

The plot is fast-paced and will keep your heart racing throughout. The characters are dynamic and terrifying in equal measure and readers will be happy to know that they have not seen the last of Detective Ray Hanley.

This is a book that readers will remember for a very long time. However, if you are at all squeamish, you should probably pass on reading this book.

Scroll to the bottom of this post for an exclusive look at one of the scenes of the book.

Once I started reading “The Art of Dying” I was unable to put it down. It hooked me instantaneously and, even more importantly, it held my fascination right to the final page.

I recently discovered that Author Derik Cavignano is hard at work on the next book starring Detective Ray Hanley and I am hoping to snag an early copy.

I rate this book 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:

Derik Cavignano is an award-winning author who writes character-driven stories in a variety of genres, including horror, sci-fi, and crime.

His novel, Colony of the Lost, was a 2016 Silver Falchion Award Finalist for best horror, and The Art of Dying: A Ray Hanley Crime Thriller was the 2019 American Fiction Awards Winner in the Horror: General category.

A native of Boston, Derik currently lives in Florida with his wife, two children, and an angry cat who won’t stop biting him.

The Art of Dying was released on September 20, 2019.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK – THE AUTHOR

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TURNING POINT by Jeffrey Deaver releases one week from today. Find out more here.

Title: TURNING POINT

Author:  JEFFREY DEAVER 

Genre: FICTION, THRILLER

Length: 66 PAGES

Publisher: AMAZON ORIGINAL STORIES

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: JANUARY 19, 2021

ISBN: 9781542021739

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

International bestselling author Jeffery Deaver delivers surprise after alarming surprise in an ingenious story about a serial killer, a detective, and a twisting duel of wits.

A serial killer is trolling a midwestern suburb. His tools: a hammer, a screwdriver, floral wire, a kitchen knife and, to complete his errand, a Russian nesting doll left behind as a calling card. From one grisly crime scene to the next, Detective Ernest Neville and his Russian Doll Killer task force follow. With few leads and his career on the line, Neville is driven to desperate measures to get to the core of this diabolical puzzle. Layer by layer, he’s getting closer to the final piece. Yet the only thing that’s certain in this game is the unexpected, and as citizens are targeted by one of the most reprehensible characters the idyllic town has ever seen, Neville can only wonder if his efforts will end in disaster—for himself, for his family and for the people he’s sworn to protect.

MY REVIEW:

RDK – The Russian Doll Killer has struck for the fourth time. It’s confirmed, a serial killer is loose on the streets of Handleman County for their first ever. With this latest murder occurring only two weeks after the last one, it is clear that the killer is escalating.

RDK received his moniker based on the fact that a set of Russian Nesting Dolls were found at the scene of each of the murders.

Hunting RDK is Detective Ernest Neville who is determined to catch the killer and put him behind bars for the rest of his life.

When RDK strikes a little too close to home, Neville takes it personally. This solidifies the detective’s determination to stop the killer once and for all. But, just who will outsmart who is anything but a foregone conclusion.

I loved the scene at the beginning of the book where reporters are asking the detective questions. When one reporter asks if the police had considered the possibility of the killer being Russian because of the dolls he leaves behind. This is the Detective’s response to the question: “He ignored that , though the answer, had it been given by his six-year-old daughter, would be: ‘Duh.'”

Although this is a work of short fiction, it is action packed and contains it a twist that readers will not see coming.

TURNING POINT is fast paced and due to it’s length, can be read in a single weekend. I rate this book as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A former journalist, folksinger and attorney, Jeffery Deaver is an international number-one bestselling author.

His novels have appeared on bestseller lists around the world, including the New York Times, the Times of London, Italy’s Corriere della Sera, the Sydney Morning Herald and the Los Angeles Times.

His books are sold in 150 countries and have been translated into over twenty-five languages. He has sold 50 million books worldwide.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

AMAZON  

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To learn more about these fascinating dolls, go to:
https://nestingdolls.co/blogs/posts/meaning-symbolism-nesting-dolls

THE SAVAGE INSTINCT by M.M. DeLUCA is Historical Fiction at it’s Best. See why here…

Title: THE SAVAGE INSTINCT  

Author: MARJORIE DeLUCA

Genre: FICTIONAL, HISTORICAL FICTION, MYSTERIES AND THRILLERS, CANADIAN AUTHOR

Length: 300 PAGES

Publisher: INKSHARES

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: MARCH 16, 2021

ISBN: 9781947848672

Price: $18.99 USD

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Learn more about Mary Ann Cotton on the Murderpedia site.

DESCRIPTION:

In the lineage of Margaret Atwood’s Alias Grace, The Savage Instinct is the chilling story of one woman’s struggle for her sanity, set against the backdrop of the arrest and trial of Mary Ann Cotton, England’s first female serial killer.

England, 1873.

Clara Blackstone has just been released after one year in a private asylum for the insane. Clara has two goals: to reunite with her husband, Henry, and to never—ever—return to the asylum. As she enters Durham, Clara finds her carriage surrounded by a mob gathered to witness the imprisonment of Mary Ann Cotton—England’s first female serial killer—accused of poisoning nearly twenty people, including her husbands and children.

Clara soon finds the oppressive confinement of her marriage no less terrifying than the white-tiled walls of Hoxton. And as she grows increasingly suspicious of Henry’s intentions, her fascination with Cotton grows. Soon, Cotton is not just a notorious figure from the headlines, but an unlikely confidante, mentor—and perhaps accomplice—in Clara’s struggle to protect her money, her freedom and her life.

MY REVIEW:

“I became acquainted with madness at the age of twenty-six. During that same year, I met the accused murderer Mary Ann Cotton and learned that the evil ones amongst us are not confined to the filthy alleyways of the poor. They mingle freely in the polished parlours of the middle classes and the gilded ballrooms of the wealthy.”

If that first paragraph did not grab your attention, well, maybe you are just a bit mad yourself. 

Set in England in the year 1873, readers learn that Clara Blackstone has spent the past year in one of the many insane asylums that operated in England during those years.

My baby was limp. I’d strained to pull myself up from the fog of ether to hear its cry above the doctor’s mumbling. Silence… They told me it was a stillbirth, but I barely heard them beneath the sound of my own screams.”

Clara’s mental illness? Well, today we know it as postpartum depression exacerbated by the fact that her baby was stillborn, but in 1873, she was simply labeled as “insane.” 

During her year of torturous treatment in the asylum, her husband moved them from London to the city of Durham. It was on her way from the asylum to their new home that their carriage was caught up in a crowd.

The crowd was trying to lay eyes on a woman being led from the courthouse to her transport to the jail. A chant arose:

Mary Ann Cotton, Mary Ann Cotton.
The rope will break yer neck.
And yer’ll be dead and buried and   rotten.”

Clara and her husband eventually arrive at their new home and Clara vows to herself that she will never do anything that could result in her being returned to the hell of the asylum.

That day should have been the start of a new life for Clara, but as readers learn, there are things about her husband that arouse Clara’s suspicions.

When Clara begins doing charity work at the woman’s prison, she is set on a trajectory she could never have seen coming. Readers will not want to put this book down and will find themselves rooting for Clara and possibly even beginning to view multiple murderess Mary Ann Cotton with a dose of sympathy and maybe even a hint of respect.

Along with this wonderful work of historical fiction is a look at the barbaric treatment of “patients” in asylums during that period in history. The author has clearly done her research and exposes many of the horrific “treatments” women were forced to endure. She also includes the fact that many women were shipped off to insane asylums based solely on the testimony of their husbands. So, if a man wanted to take up with a younger woman, all he had to do was say that his wife was hysterical and off the wife went to a life filled with torture and despair. Unfortunately, it is now well known that this happened far too frequently. 

THE SAVAGE INSTINCT is a superb work of historical fiction intertwined with historic facts. Author, Marjorie DeLuca seamlessly weaves her story around the enigmatic figure of the all too real, female serial killer Mary Ann Cotton. I thoroughly enjoyed her take on this historic figure.

Also, the story’s protagonist is 100% believable. Clara Blackstone could easily have been a real person. Her imprisonment in two separate insane asylums proved lifealtering (and not in a positive way.) How her husband treats her once she is released shows the attitudes of the time. Mental illness was seen as a personal failing and not an “illness” at all. Unfortunately, many people still view mental health issues that way today.

At a couple places in the story, I thought I knew exactly what was going to happen next. Both times I discovered (to my delight) that I was wrong. I love it when a plot does not become predictable.

I rate THE SAVAGE INSTINCT as a solid 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and I will be keeping an eye on this author’s future endeavors.

*** Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of #TheSavageInstinct ***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Marjorie DeLuca spent her childhood in the ancient cathedral city of Durham in North-Eastern England.

She attended the University of London, became a teacher, and then immigrated to Canada where she lives with her husband, two children and a crazy dog named Bella. There she also studied writing under her mentor, Pulitzer Prize winning author, Carol Shields.

Though she loves writing sci-fi for teens, she’s also just completed two historical novels due out in the next few months.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

BLOG

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

AMAZON

CHAPTERS

*************************

ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:

Recently called “the future of publishing” by The Wall Street Journal, Inkshares is a book publisher that uses a crowdfunding model instead of agents and acquisitions editors to decide what to publish.

Their community of readers can pre-order a book project on Inkshares.com, and if the project hits its funding limit, Inkshares brings the book to life by providing editorial services, design, production, national distribution, and marketing.

To learn more about this Publisher visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
https://www.inkshares.com

GOODREADS

TWITTER

FACEBOOK

TUMBLR

INSTAGRAM

**************************

MORE BOOKS BY M.M. DeLUCA:

MARY ANN COTTON
Another newspaper photo of Serial Poisoner Mary Ann Cotton

LITTLE BONES – by N.V. Peacock releases this Halloween. An addictive and eerie tale that could easily have been torn from today’s headlines is your Must Have Halloween read!!!

Title: LITTLE BONES

Author: N.V. PEACOCK

Genre: FICTION, MYSTERIES AND THRILLERS

Length: 402 PAGES

Publisher: AVON BOOKS UK – A Division of HARPER COLLINS

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: OCTOBER 31, 2020

ISBN: 9780008436360 (eBook)

Price: $9.99 AUD (eBook)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

I have three names: I was born Leigh-Ann. I became Cherrie. When I was a child, they called me Little Bones…

My father was Mr Bones – the notorious serial killer of 25 years ago.

As a child I witnessed his crimes.

Everything is different now. I have a new identity. I’m a mother. I am finally free.

Until that podcast. I should never have listened.

They’re linking a recent disappearance to the crimes of the past.

They know who I am. They’re calling me Little Bones again.

They say I’m a villain but I’m not. I’m a victim.

You believe me, don’t you?

MY REVIEW:

I began this book with no experience of reading other N.V. Peacock books. (Many of her previous books were published with Nicky Peacock as the author, but, before reading LITTLE BONES, I had yet to read any books written under either name.) I was unsure of what to expect since my research showed that the author’s usual genre is Young Adult. However, reading LITTLE BONES with a completely open mind ended up being a pleasantly rewarding experience and I am very pleased that I did so.

There are two interwoven plots in LITTLE BONES; they are fascinating both separately as well as together.

Cherrie is a grown woman with a child of her own. She lives a comfortable life even though she doesn’t make much money at her job at the deli counter of a local independent grocery store. The father of her child lives with them and Cherrie feels lucky. The only thing marring her perfect suburban existence is the knowledge that she harbors a secret.

She knows she should be honest with her boyfriend and with her close friends, but the terror and ostracism she experienced as a child has never been forgotten and she is afraid history will repeat itself.

As a child her name had been Leigh-Ann and her father was the notorious artist and serial killer MR. BONES. (Wait until you read about his crimes, you will be surprised at their uniqueness.) When he was arrested, Cherrie’s entire world fell apart. Kids who knew about her father and what he had done began calling her LITTLE BONES, the media followed suit and the horrible nickname followed her until she was old enough to legally change her name.

But, all that happened twenty-five years ago. Noone in her present-day life knew about her past and she planned to keep it that way… FOREVER.

BUT, life has a way of throwing curveballs into the best laid plans…

When a local child goes missing and ends up dead, one podcast is all it takes to place Cherrie right in the middle of her worst nightmare.

She needs to keep her son safe, and she may just have to channel her inner “Little Bones” to do so.

The fast pace of this story left me unable to put the book down. I just had to know what would happen next.

Kidnapping, murder, stalking, grief, and shame are just a few of the many themes addressed in LITTLE BONES.

I am a mother, so I empathize with Cherrie and her desire to keep her child safe no matter what the cost. There are several incidents during which she crossed the line between legal and illegal, and between moral and immoral. Readers will have to answer for themselves just how far they would be willing to go to keep their family safe. I think the answer might surprise you.

Creepy, yet relatable, this story is one that readers will continue thinking about long after reading the final page. In fact, this book is perfect for Book Clubs and is sure to invite vigorous discussion.

I rate LITTLE BONES as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

N V Peacock also writes YA and Horror as Nicky Peacock. She lives in lovely Northamptonshire, She has spent over 20 years in sales and writes in her spare time. Nine years ago she discovered the anthology market, and it wasn’t long before her first short story was published. With over 30 stories in horror, thriller and paranormal anthologies for publishers all over the world, including stories in the Mammoth Book of Jack the Ripper and a Women in Horror Anthology, she’s no stranger to the dark side. After writing 5 YA supernatural novels, she turned her hand to an adult thriller.

With her love of true crime podcasts, the plot of Little Bones came together quickly and after several drafts, developed into a fully-fledged book with a killer twist and a strong female protagonist with a wicked sense of humour.

Nicky has a degree in creative writing and runs a local writers’ group. With 20 members, it’s grown into a wonderful place for novice and established writers to gather and share thoughts, discuss their work and above all motivate them to keep writing. While running the group, Nicky has found that spending time with like-minded people, who enjoy writing as much as she does, is crucial to maintain the motivation and devotion that writing needs.

About her writing, Nicky says, ‘Entertaining readers is the best feeling in the world. Times are tough at the moment, so to be able to transport readers into someone else’s life and take them on a twisty journey makes all the time and effort I put into my books worthwhile.’

Nicky appreciates every review she receives and thanks all her readers in advance for taking the time to put fingers to keyboard and share their thoughts with other readers.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

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FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM http://www.instagram.com/

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AUDIBLE – DECEMBER 10th Release

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THE GHOST TREE by CHRISTINA HENRY is now available everywhere Spooky books are sold.

Title: THE GHOST TREE

Author: CHRISTINA HENRY 

Genre: FICTION, HORROR

Length:  432 PAGES

Publisher: BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP – A Division of PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: SEPTEMBER 8, 2020

ISBN: 9780451492302

Price: $16.00 (USD)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

When people go missing in the sleepy town of Smith’s Hollow, the only clue to their fate comes when a teenager starts having terrifying visions, in a chilling horror novel from national bestselling author Christina Henry.

When the bodies of two girls are found torn apart in the town of Smiths Hollow, Lauren is surprised, but she also expects that the police won’t find the killer. After all, the year before her father’s body was found with his heart missing, and since then everyone has moved on. Even her best friend, Miranda, has become more interested in boys than in spending time at the old ghost tree, the way they used to when they were kids.

So when Lauren has a vision of a monster dragging the remains of the girls through the woods, she knows she can’t just do nothing. Not like the rest of her town. But as she draws closer to answers, she realizes that the foundation of her seemingly normal town might be rotten at the center. And that if nobody else stands for the missing, she will.

MY REVIEW:

“Lauren knew Mom didn’t want her and Miranda meeting in the woods. Especially after last year. Especially after Lauren’s dad was found near that old cabin. Mom thought Lauren was macabre for going anywhere near the place where her father was murdered.”

“She and Lauren always met under the ghost tree. They’d done so since they were very small, for so long that Lauren couldn’t remember who’d thought of the idea first.”

So begins the novel THE GHOST TREE.

Something is very wrong in Smiths Hollow.

The story begins a year after Lauren’s father was murdered.

Now the torn-apart bodies of two teen girls have been found in a backyard that connects with the very same forest.

Alex Lopez and his family have only recently moved to Smiths Hollow after he was hired on to the miniscule local police force. It was Alex and his partner who were the first to be called to the scene of the murdered teenagers. He was both shocked and appalled at the horrific violence. 

The first order of business was to try to identify the girls. Next up, they needed to determine who murdered and mutilated them, and WHY?

As the story unfolds, secrets are revealed and a secret and widespread conspiracy seems to be taking place in Smiths Hollow.

The bodycount continues to rise, and it becomes more and more apparent that something very sinister is taking place in the small town.

This is the perfect book to pick up today since it is Halloween and spooky stories are the order of the day.

In addition to the main plot, there are several subplots including one that speaks to a major problem facing the current populace of the United States – that of racism – both overt, and systemic.

I enjoyed reading THE GHOST TREE and I recommend it to those who like a bit of spookiness alongside their mysteries. Like I said, this a perfect book to begin reading on this Halloween night.

I rate THE GHOST TREE as 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐.

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

FAVORITE QUOTES:

“She hesitated, because she felt that to say what she was thinking out loud would be like crossing the Rubicon. Her sixth-grade social studies teacher, Mr. Connolly, had used that phrase once and when she asked what he meant, he told her it was a way of saying a step that you couldn’t take back.”

“Alejandro Lopez – he preferred to be called Alex rather than Alejandro, because the Americanized name made white folks feel like he was one of them…

“There is something wrong with this town, Alex thought.” 

“Yes, there was something very wrong in Smiths Hollow. And Alex needed to find out what it was before it disappeared from his memory, too. Before he forgot about the girls who’d called to him in dead voices. Before whoever – or whatever – cut those girls to pieces did it again.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

CHRISTINA HENRY  is the author of the CHRONICLES OF ALICE series – ALICE, RED QUEEN, and LOOKING GLASS – a dark and twisted take on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, as well as THE GIRL IN RED, a post-apocalyptic Red Riding Hood novel, and LOST BOY: THE TRUE STORY OF CAPTAIN HOOK, an origin story of Captain Hook from Peter Pan.

She is also the author of the national bestselling BLACK WINGS series (BLACK WINGS, BLACK NIGHT, BLACK HOWL, BLACK LAMENT, BLACK CITY, BLACK HEART and BLACK SPRING) featuring Agent of Death Madeline Black and her popcorn-loving gargoyle Beezle.

She enjoys running long distances, reading anything she can get her hands on and watching movies with samurai, zombies and/or subtitles in her spare time. She lives in Chicago with her husband and son.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

AMAZON 

CHAPTERS  

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

More Books by Christina Henry:

Polish Book Cover of ALICE

A REVIEW OF THE NEWLY RELEASED PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER – THE SHADOW BIRD – Released on July 15th, 2020.

Title: THE SHADOW BIRD

Author: ANN GOSSLIN

Genre: FICTION, MYSTERIES & THRILLERS

Length: 272 PAGES

Publisher: LEGEND PRESS

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: JULY 15, 2020

ISBN: (Paperback): 9781789551150

Price: £8.99 GBP

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Three months into her new role as a psychiatrist at a clinic in New York, Erin Cartwright is asked to evaluate the case of a man who murdered his mother and sisters at the age of seventeen.

Found not guilty by reason of insanity and held in a maximum-security psychiatric facility for twenty-seven years, Timothy Stern is now eligible for release. Upon learning the crime occurred in the same village she once visited as a child, Erin is on the verge of refusing to take the case, when a startling discovery triggers memories she’d rather keep hidden, and a suspicion the wrong man is behind bars.

MY REVIEW:

It is almost impossible to believe that THE SHADOW BIRD is author Ann Gosslin’s first novel. This psychological thriller is sure to gain instant fans. I know for sure that I will be watching for her next novel and I sincerely hope she continues on with Psychiatry Specialist Erin Cartwright. 

The plot of THE SHADOW BIRD  contains twists and turns that first time authors are not usually adept at. Author Ann Gosslin handles them like a seasoned professional. The multiple plot lines could easily have become unruly, but Ann Gosslin’s talent and incredible intelligence shine through and readers will find this psychological thriller impossible to put down.

There are very few books where the conclusion surprises me, when I find such a book, I am inclined to shout it to the rooftops. THE SHADOW BIRD is worthy of my shouting.

Characters so realistic they jump off the pages and make you want to learn more about them.

This is a PERFECT book for Book Clubs around the world. I am well aware that this book is not available for a couple more weeks, but this knowledge does nothing to dampen my recommendation. You should PRE-ORDER this book from your favorite Indie Bookstore.

I rate THE SHADOW BIRD as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

*** Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free ebook copy of “The Shadow Bird.” ***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
(Copied from the author’s website)

From an early age, even before I knew how to read and write, I’ve been fascinated by stories of all kinds — especially anything to do with travel and adventure.

As someone who is always gazing at the horizon, tales of unwitting characters forced to navigate unfamiliar cultures or languages, as well as the treacherous depths of their own memory, continue to fascinate.

In my own fiction, I like to explore the effects of culture (and cultural dislocation) on identity, memory, and the perception of self.

My debut novel, The Shadow Bird, was published in the UK in July 2020 by Legend Press.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

TWITTER

AMAZON

ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:

Legend Press is an independent book publisher founded in 2005 by Tom Chalmers, that specialises in original fiction, crime thrillers and its Legend Classics series. Legend Press has been shortlisted for numerous awards as a company and also for individual books.

As part of its platform, London-based Legend Press has built a global sales and distribution network with the target of reaching readers in multiple formats across the world. It is also passionate about licensing its content to publishers, whether into different languages, formats such as audio and large print, or into key English language markets.

Much of its success has been due to keenness to innovate and to be a market-leader for new initiatives. And as its ultimate mission, Legend Press aims to produce books of the highest quality, provide a global platform for authors and to inspire and thrill book readers around the world.

To learn more about this Publisher visit the following links:

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THE HIDING GIRL by Award-winning Author DORIAN BOX is available for Pre-Order now. This book is truly unique, it is a MUST READ.

Title: THE HIDING GIRL

Series: EMILY CALBY SERIES: BOOK ONE

Author: DORIAN BOX

Genre: FICTION, MYSTERIES AND THRILLERS

Length: 314 PAGES

Publisher: FRICTION PRESS 

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: JUNE 15, 2020

ISBN: 9781734639902 (Paperback)

Price: $12.99 USD (Paperback)

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Twelve-year-old Emily Calby was a good girl from a religious family in rural Georgia. She loved softball, her little sister and looking up words to get her allowance. Then two men came and murdered her family. Somehow Emily escaped. Only the killers know she survived.

On the run in a fugue, she makes an unlikely ally in a ruthless former gang member who takes her in. Overwhelmed by guilt, she persuades him to train her to kill before setting out alone on a terrifying search for justice.

Nothing will stop her—not cops or creeps, not even her own splintering mind. Through it all, Emily fights to hold onto hope and the girl she once knew, kept buried deep inside.

A testament to the boundless limits of love, sacrifice and will to survive, The Hiding Girl is the first book in the Emily Calby Series.

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MY REVIEW:

Twelve year old Emily Calby is desperate, scared, and all alone. She’s on the run from the men who tortured and killed her entire family; men from  whom she just barely escaped.

Emily is a white girl, with blonde hair who grew up in a middle class family and who has never had to experience racism or classism. Even though she has never thought of herself as privileged, she starts to realize just how good she had it when she meets Lucas.

Lucas is an adult, black male who lives in a poverty stricken neighborhood that experiences way too much gang violence. A previous gang member himself, Lucas knows exactly how dangerous it can be for a young, white girl to be homeless in the city. Despite his reservations, Lucas takes Emily under his wing. (This relationship is a huge part of the plot, but the way the two met and his decision to befriend Emily is extremely far-fetched. I reduced the number of stars I gave THE HIDING GIRL because of this.)

Emily is terrified that the two men from whom she had barely escaped will track her down and finish what they started. Because of this, she convinces Lucas to teach her how to kill.

Readers learn about Lucas and his past, including the fact that he used to be in a gang, and he also talks about the death of someone close to him. It is this death that is used to explain why Emily keeps seeing teddy bears attached to hydro poles in his neighborhood. The inclusion of this tidbit is based on fact. Author Dorian Box has seen these Memorial Teddy Bears in real life.

This book is a testament to the resiliency of youth, as well as the power of fear, grief, and a hunger for justice. I enjoyed the inclusion of the conversations between characters in regard to exactly what is justice, and who has the right to extract that justice. Emily must decide whether she is willing to kill the monsters who had obliterated her entire family.

There are a multitude of social themes in this book and the plot has more twists and turns than a rollercoaster. It is an enjoyable story with characters you will come to love.

THE HIDING GIRL is the first book in a brand new EMILY CALBY SERIES. The second book is due for release within the year.

I rate this book as 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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

I feel that I have to mention and give kudos to @Herabooks

Hera is a FEMALE-LED Publisher.

It is about time that women were not only in positions of power, but are also the owners and CEOs. I have bookmarked and am following Hera Books.

It is important to me to celebrate and support women-led Indie businesses, especially in this unprecedented time in history when everyone on the planet is trying to #flattenthecurve and to #eradicate #Covid19

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

“Dorian Box” is a professor and author of eight nonfiction books, one an Amazon Editors’ Favorite Book of the Year.

Psycho-Tropics, his first novel, received a Writer’s Digest Award in Genre Fiction.

Kirkus called it “[a]n engaging thriller with plenty of humor, good characterization, and a memorable villain ….”

The Writer’s Digest judge said, “Marrying humor with suspense is not easy, but it comes across masterfully. … A truly enjoyable read.”

His second novel, The Hiding Girl–scheduled for release on June 15, 2020–is the first entry in the Emily Calby Series, which follows twelve-year-old Emily’s perilous, traumatized life forward from the day two men invade her rural Georgia home and kill her family. The unpublished manuscript was named a semifinalist for the Publishers Weekly Booklife Prize out of more than 700 entries.

The Critic’s Report described it as: “Dark and gritty … an exceptional, heart-pounding story full of raw emotion, deep-seated fear, and an undercurrent of hope and innocence. Deeply atmospheric … without peer in contemporary mysteries/thrillers.”

Book 2 in The Emily Calby Series is also complete and Book 3 is underway.

In his regular life, Box has received numerous awards for teaching and research, written thousands, possibly millions, of scholarly footnotes, and been interviewed by sources such as National Public Radio, the PBS Newshour, and the New York Times.

Box lives out his childhood fantasies singing and playing guitar in rock cover bands that earn tens of dollars sweating it out until two a.m. in smoky dive bars.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
https://dorianbox.com

GOODREADS

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“Pretty Things by Janelle Brown – BOOK RELEASES TODAY – Nicole Kidman has already signed on for the movie version.

Title: PRETTY THINGS

Author: JANELLE BROWN

Genre: FICTION, MYSTERIES AND THRILLERS, WOMEN’S FICTION

Length: 496 PAGES

Publisher: RANDOM HOUSE PUBLISHING

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: APRIL 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525479123

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Nina once bought into the idea that her fancy liberal arts degree would lead to a fulfilling career. When that dream crashed, she turned to stealing from rich kids in L.A. alongside her wily Irish boyfriend, Lachlan. Nina learned from the best: Her mother was the original con artist, hustling to give her daughter a decent childhood despite their wayward life. But when her mom gets sick, Nina puts everything on the line to help her, even if it means running her most audacious, dangerous scam yet.

Vanessa is a privileged young heiress who wanted to make her mark in the world. Instead she becomes an Instagram influencer—traveling the globe, receiving free clothes and products, and posing for pictures in exotic locales. But behind the covetable façade is a life marked by tragedy. After a broken engagement, Vanessa retreats to her family’s sprawling mountain estate, Stonehaven: a mansion of dark secrets not just from Vanessa’s past, but from that of a lost and troubled girl named Nina.

Nina’s, Vanessa’s, and Lachlan’s paths collide here, on the cold shores of Lake Tahoe, where their intertwined lives give way to a winter of aspiration and desire, duplicity and revenge.

This dazzling, twisty, mesmerizing novel showcases acclaimed author Janelle Brown at her best, as two brilliant, damaged women try to survive the greatest game of deceit and destruction they will ever play.

MY REVIEW:

When a body goes down in Lake Tahoe, they say, it does not rise again. The frigid temperature of the lake, it’s vast depths, conspire to keep bacteria at bay. What once was human fails to decompose. Instead, the body is doomed to drift along the lake bed, in perpetual limbo; just more organic matter joining the mysterious menagerie that lives in Tahoe’s uncharted depths.”

What an incredible way to begin this suspenseful novel.

Readers of PRETTY THINGS are in for a treat. This book has more twists and turns than a rollercoaster.

Oh the naivety of youth. As author JANELLE BROWN details the life of high schoolers Nina and Benny, it is easy to picture the two misfits finding each other and only after having built a foundation of friendship do they take the leap of faith into a relationship. I am positive that everyone can remember their first real relationship. It is easy to visualize the intensity of their feelings. Nina and Benny never forget each other and their puppy-love has ramifications that span decades.

Vanessa is Benny’s sister. She is the golden child to Benny’s black sheep. As a twenty-something, she becomes what all Millenials seem to aspire to, that is an Instagram Influencer. She flits through the world wearing designer clothing and is constantly posting photographs of herself on her Instagram feed.

There are so many people who post every moment of their lives online, hoping to be followed by hundreds of thousands of people. What Vanessa, as well as other Instagramers don’t seem to think about, is just who is following their feed and why.

In addition to the role the internet plays in the plot of Pretty Things, also included are characters who have grown up in extreme wealth, never having to actually work for their money. Of course there are also their polar opposites, people who have lived hand-to-mouth and the things they are willing to do to make their lives easier. Dysfunctional family dynamics, mental illness, anger, fear and greed also have their places in this twisted tale.

In PRETTY THINGS someone or maybe several someones are following people’s Instagram posts for nefarious purposes and the dangers of the internet loom large. This tale is a warning to all those who post online to be wary of what they put out on the world wide web.

The author writes with such precision and suspense that it is little wonder the film rights of this book have already been scooped up. Mega-Star Nicole Kidman has already been cast in one of the lead rolls.

With themes that everyone living in this age of Social Media can relate to, PRETTY THINGS is going to be the Number One book on Bestseller Lists for many, many weeks to come.

This book fully deserves every single one of 5 out of 5 Stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Photo by Michael Smiy

Janelle Brown is the New York Times bestselling author of WATCH ME DISAPPEAR, ALL WE EVER WANTED WAS EVERYTHING, THIS IS WHERE WE LIVE and the upcoming novel PRETTY THINGS.

An essayist and journalist, her writing appears regularly in Vogue, The New York Times, Elle, Wired, Self, The Los Angeles Times, and numerous other publications.

Previously, she spent five years as a senior writer at Salon, covering a diverse range of subjects — from Internet culture to the war on drugs, pop culture to style, public policy issues and the digital music movement– and began her career as a staff writer at Wired, working on seminal Web sites like HotWired and Wired News during the heydey of the dotcom boom.

Photo by Michael Smiy

In the 1990’s, she was also the editor and co-founder of Maxi, an irreverent (and now, long-gone) women’s pop culture magazine.

She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, filmmaker Greg Harrison, and two children.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK – AUTHOR  

FACEBOOK – RANDOM HOUSE

TWITTER – AUTHOR
http://twitter.com/janelleb

TWITTER – RANDOM HOUSE

AMAZON

GOOGLE BOOKS

INSTAGRAM – AUTHOR

INSTAGRAM – RANDOM HOUSE

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

ESME’S GIFT by the Mega-Talented Author of Young Adult Fiction – ELIZABETH FOSTER is a solid 6 out of 5 Stars. Yes, It is that good.

Title: ESME’S GIFT

Series: THE ESME TRILOGY: BOOK 2

Author: ELIZABETH FOSTER

Genre: FICTION, YOUNG ADULT FICTION, FANTASY

Length: 254 PAGES

Publisher: ODYSSEY BOOKS

Received From: THE AUTHOR

Release Date: NOVEMBER 30, 2019

ISBN: 9781925652833

Price: $16.95 CDN

Rating: 6 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

“Now, nothing else mattered. She had found the place her mother had whispered of, the place sewn into the fabric of her dreams.”

In  the enchanted world of Aeolia, fifteen-year-old Esme Silver is faced with her hardest task yet. She must master her unruly Gift – the power to observe the past – and uncover the secrets she needs to save her mother, Ariane.

In between attending school in the beguiling canal city of Esperance, Esme and her friends – old and new – travel far and wide across Aeolia, gathering the ingredients for a potent magical elixir.

Their journey takes them to volcanic isles, sunken ruins and snowy eyries, spectacular places fraught with danger, where they must confront their deepest fears and find hope in the darkest of places. Esme’s Gift, the second instalment in the Esme trilogy, is an enthralling fantasy adventure for readers 12 years and over.

MY REVIEW:

ESME’S GIFT is the perfect book to sit, and read right now. You can immerse yourself in the unforgettable world of. Esperance.

Currently, our entire world is on ‘pause.’ The Coronavirus dubbed Covid19 has caused a worldwide phenomenon called “Social Distancing.’ Health authorities all over the planet are asking (or demanding) people stay home to avoid catching and/or spreading the virus. The one good thing that has happened because of Covid19, is that we now have the time to read those books that we have all been wishing we had time for.

Physical bookstores may be closed right now, but just about every bookseller is allowing customers to order online and have your books delivered straight to your door. My suggestion is that you place an order for ESME’S WISH and ESME’S GIFT written by the Mega-Talented Author, Elizabeth Foster. I guarantee you will love these books and will find that time flies by because you will become immersef in this tale of magic, mystery, family ties, dragons and the fascinating and scintillating world of Aeolia.

Elizabeth Foster truly has a talent and a gift for creating fantastic worlds that readers will wish they were able to experience firsthand. Elizabeth does for water what J.K. Rowling did for Platform 9 3/4 at the train station.

In “Esme’s Gift,” the fifteen year old title character returns from the magical world of Aeolia with the intention of convincing her father that his wife, Esme’s mother, Ariane, is alive (although currently in a magical coma) in the enchanted city of Esperance. She wants to convince him to travel to Aeolia with her so that he can see for himself.

He reacts the way most of us would react if told that our daughter who had been missing for weeks, shows up one day and says that she had been in a magical city that exists only through an underwater portal. He does not believe her (can you really blame him?) Esme overhears the plan to have her checked out by doctors at a mental hospital and flees back to Aeolia.

Upon her early return, she discovers that there has been no change in her mother’s condition. But, there is hope. If she can procure the ingredients necessary for a special potion, then maybe, just maybe, her mother will awaken from her coma.

The rest of the story follows the quest for the potion’s ingredients. Esme and her friends have several crazy adventures along the way … even including a mistakenly cast spell with harrowing consequences.

Anyone who loved the Harry Potter series will enjoy this book series. It is planned as a trilogy and I am going to be eagerly awaiting the next and final installment.

The descriptions of the magical city of Esperance are so vividly rendered that it is easy to picture it in your mind. The characters are not just superficial, they are realistic and have flaws and foibles just like everyone does. These characters will draw you in and you will find them 100% unforgettable.

If you choose to read only one young adult fantasy fiction series this year, you need to ensure it is THE ESME SERIES.

Without hesitation, I rate ESME’S GIFT AS 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

ELIZABETH FOSTER was born in Brisbane, Australia. She read avidly as a child, but only discovered the joys of writing some years ago, when reading to her own kids reminded her of how much she missed getting lost in other worlds.

Once she started writing, she never looked back. She is at her happiest when immersed in her stories and plotting new conflicts and adventures for her characters.

Elizabeth now lives in Sydney, Australia where she can be found scribbling in cafés, indulging her love of both words and coffee.

Her first novel, Esme’s Wish, a fantasy-mystery for younger teens, was released by Odyssey Books on October 30, 2017. Esme’s Gift, the second in the trilogy is AVAILABLE NOW!!!

To learn more about this author visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

TWITTER

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

YOUTUBE

AMAZON

CHAPTERS

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

KOBO: You can read the first chapter of Book One of The Esme Series HERE.

ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:

ODYSSEY BOOKS is an Australian Independent publishing house. It was founded only eight years ago, in 2009 by Michelle Lovi.

They only publish 12 to 18 books per year. Odyssey Books produces quality literary and genre fiction, as well as memoirs and creative non-fiction.

They live for the adventures that books provide and are not afraid to take risks with new writers and new ideas.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

TWITTER

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

PINTEREST

YOUTUBE

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/

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

YOUTUBE  

TWITTER

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CHAPTERS

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE


Vincent Lam and Daniel Kalla