Tag Archives: mystery

Review of “Escape” – L. A. Davenport

To escape first you have to set yourself free

John, a doctor grieving for the loss of his wife, is recuperating at a glamorous resort in the Eastern Mediterranean, where he falls for Jasna, a brilliant and beautiful young hostess. When she is brutally murdered, John is the only suspect.

To clear his name and find her killers, he teams up with Charles, the elderly hotel manager seeking justice for the death of his granddaughter. They are pitched into a ruthless world of people-trafficking, prostitution, drugs, mafia and murder, where life is cheap and no-one and nothing is what it seems.

Will they gather the evidence in time to stop the killers, or be the next victims in the seemingly endless cycle of violence? And can they trust the police, or are they part of the web of corruption that reaches into every part of life, trapping everything in its threads?

Escape is the debut novel by L. A. Davenport that plunges you into a darkly glamorous world in which John has to overcome his grief and obtain justice for Jasna and the women made victims of modern slavery.

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

 

John, a recent widow, goes to a resort in the Eastern Mediterranean to get away from his sorrow. However, his escape from reality comes with dire consequences. The resort is serving more than fine food and drinks. The gang running the area has its hand in everything, and almost everyone is under their control. John isn’t though, and he proves to be tougher than anyone ever suspected. Petrov, the gang leader, sure did underestimate the middle-aged doctor (John).

Suspense, violence, mystery, love, friendship, and sadness… Escape sure had a lot going on.

 

As for the mystery aspect of this story, it wasn’t so much as who killed the ladies, but how would the gang be taken down.

L. A. Davenport broke up Escape into nine parts, with each section having three to eight chapters under them. I’ve read stories with 1-3 sections but never nine. Each part also began with Chapter One. That means, there are NINE of them. That seemed odd to me. Why start each part with Chapter One?! While the story was pretty good, this unusual setup seemed unnecessary and made no sense at all.

 

Now, let me talk about John’s love for his deceased wife. It was apparent her passing tore him up. He spoke to her portrait often. Yes, there’s no doubt in my mind he loved her, loves her still, but this is where things turn south for me. He fell in love with another woman, Jasna, quite soon after his wife died. He didn’t  know Jasna. Yes, she was a nice woman, but he didn’t really know the real her. I think he was confusing infatuation with love. 

John also spoke of this ‘demon’ inside him, which wanted John to do bad things. I assumed the demon would come into play later on, maybe a surprise twist, but it did not. That was a bit of a letdown.

 

Even though I had issues with some details of Escape, I do love when the underdog gets the upper hand. If you do as well, then buy this book.

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤1/2

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L. A. Davenport is an Anglo-Irish author.

He sometimes lives in the countryside, far away from urban distraction, but mostly he lives in the city. He enjoys long walks, typewriters and strong black coffee.

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Review of “The Rebound Effect” – Linda Griffin

In the small town of Cougar, struggling single mother and veterinary assistant Teresa Lansing is still bruised from a failed relationship when Frank McAllister sweeps her off her feet.

Frank is a big-city SWAT officer who moved to Cougar only four months ago. He’s handsome, charming, forceful, very sexy, and a bit mysterious. He had his eye on Teresa even before they met and is pushing for a serious relationship right away.

Teresa finds his intense courtship flattering, and the sex is fabulous, but she doesn’t want her deaf six-year-old son to be hurt again. Her former fiancé cheated on her when he got drunk after being unjustly fired, but he loves her and her son, and the whirlwind romance is complicated by his efforts to win Teresa back.

And then there’s the matter of the bodies buried at Big Devil Creek…

 

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

Warning: Spoilers included!

Frank McAllister was a controlling a-hole!

He proclaimed he didn’t want to push Teresa but that’s exactly what he kept on doing.

Date 1: He asked to meet her son and kept asking even though she said it was too early. He repeatedly brought up her exes despite how uncomfortable she was regarding the topic. He also offered to help her financially because money means nothing to him since he had a lot of it.

Date 2: He paid the babysitter despite Teresa stating firmly “No — that’s my job!” He tried to convince her to have sex with him and again brought up her ex when she repeatedly declined his advances. 

Date 3: He asked to take her and Aiden away from the weekend. She said no. He then said just the two of them could go. As a parent, I would never leave my child with a sitter for the entire weekend. Maybe some single parents would if they were dating a person for a long while but definitely not after only a few dates.

Weekend trip: Again, Frank was a pushy a-hole. She didn’t want a new cell phone. Teresa didn’t want Aiden to have a cell phone since he was only 6 but her protests meant nothing to Frank. He also insulted her best friend Alix and  Alix’s daughter. 


I could’ve expressed my feelings regarding the other dates but it’s obvious I am not a fan of Frank. Really, I can’t fathom why Teresa agreed to a second date or a third date, etcetera, etcetera. 
Seriously, it doesn’t take a genius to realize Frank is unhinged, mentally unstable. However, it did take a lot of willpower to continue reading this book. Sadly to say, I didn’t find it entertaining and I wasn’t surprised by what became of Frank.

The only bright spot of The Rebound Effect was Aiden, Teresa’s son. He was adorable and proved extremely helpful when it mattered most.

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤

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Linda Griffin is a native of San Diego and has a BA in English from San Diego State University and an MLS from UCLA. She retired from a position as the fiction librarian for the San Diego Public Library in order to spend more time on her writing. Her stories have been published in numerous journals, including The Binnacle , EclecticaOrbis, and The Nassau Review. The Rebound Effect is her second novel from The Wild Rose Press. Seventeen Days was published in October 2018. She enjoys Scrabble, movies, and travel, as well as the three R’s—reading, writing, and research.

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Review of “Dead, White, and Blue: The Juniper Junction Holiday Mystery Series Book 2” – Amy M. Reade

Summer is getting hotter in Juniper Junction, Colorado.

There’s a firebug on the loose, the townspeople are nervous, and Lilly Carlsen, single mom to two teenagers, has even more to worry about. She’s in charge of the Independence Day celebration, her mother’s mental health is declining, and her son is getting ready to leave for college.

But things are about to get even hotter: when a bistro owner dies at the celebration and Lilly’s best friend is charged with murder, events start hitting close to home. It’s up to Lilly to help clear her friend’s name while at the same time dealing her mom’s worsening forgetfulness as well as a coming-of-age issue under her own roof.

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

 

Dead, White, and Blue was jam-packed with relatable scenarios and characters. I’ve touched on a few of them below. 

 

1.) Secretive children: The older your children become the less you are aware of what they are doing. They say they are going one place but actually end up in another. And underage drinking….. it happens everyday and children should be punished for it. I respect how Lilly handled the situation. You just can’t let things like that slide.

 

2.) Dementia: According to alz.org, it affects your memory, communication and language, ability to pay attention and focus, reasoning and judgment, and visual perception. Amy addressed all the symptoms. Plus, she gave realistic reactions and thoughts regarding Dementia. In fact, Tighe delivered the most powerful response when him and his mom, Lilly, were discussing Bev (Dementia sufferer). Below is a condensed version of that conversation.

 

Lilly regarding Bev, her mother: “She’s strong and healthy, with the exception of her mind.” 

Tighe: “That’s the worst part, don’t you think? Her body will keep living while her mind dies.”

 

I can’t fathom anyone not be affected by his words…….

 

 

3.) Wrongfully accused of a crime: The news is littered with cases of people arrested for crimes they didn’t commit. The accused swears they are innocent. Friends and family stand firm the accused couldn’t have done it. But, the police arrest them anyways. Sometimes the accused is guilty BUT everyday we discover innocent people are behind bars and guilty of nothing. In Dead, White, and Blue, Noley is accused of using cyanide to murder Cerise and Lilly vows to clear Noley’s name. Again, I can’t personally relate to this predicament but I know others can. Cases like these are always in the news, and most times the innocent don’t walk away free.

 

 

Now onto my thoughts regarding the two investigations: the arsonist and the real murderer.

Murder mystery: I figured out who the murderer was but I was only partly right on the why.

Firebug mystery: The arsonist’s identity escaped me. I knew certain people were too obvious of a choice and was pleased to see I was right about their innocence. As for who actually started the fires and why, I will say the perp’s reasoning for setting the fires was totally plausible. Actually, I’m pretty sure if I do an Internet search I’d find a news report on such a similar situation.

 

If reading a good mystery wasn’t enough for you, Amy included THREE recipes in the back of the book. I can’t wait to try Noley’s Blueberry Studmuffins. Simple ingredients. Simple directions. Sounds perfect and I bet they will taste heavenly too! 

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤

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Amy M. Reade is a cook, chauffeur, household CEO, doctor, laundress, maid, psychiatrist, warden, seer, teacher, and pet whisperer. In other words, a wife, mother, community volunteer, and recovering attorney.

She’s also a writer. She is the author of Trudy’s Diary, A Libraries of the World Mystery (Book One: Library of Congress), The Worst Noel (Book One in the Juniper Junction Holiday Mystery series), The Malice Series (The House on Candlewick Lane, Highland Peril, and Murder in Thistlecross), and three standalone books, Secrets of Hallstead House, The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor, and House of the Hanging Jade. She lives in southern New Jersey, but loves to travel. Her favorite places to visit are Scotland and Hawaii and when she can’t travel she loves to read books set in far-flung locations.

Her days are split between writing and marketing her books, but uppermost in her mind is the adage that the best way to market a book is to write another great book.

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Review of “Touch of Smoke” – Karissa Laurel

Three years ago, Rikki Albemarle watched her best friend die at the hands of a supernatural evil. Certain she was slated to be the next victim, Rikki fled her small Smoky Mountain hometown, vowing to never come back. Plagued by nightmares and knowing she’s the only one who believes Mina’s death was no accident, Rikki returns with hopes of finding answers and holding the killer accountable.

Rikki is convinced the key to unlocking the secret of Mina’s death lies with Owen Amir, the alluring young army vet who once claimed her heart. But the deeper Rikki digs into Owen’s past, the more she’s torn between the urgings of her heart and her memories of him on the night Mina died.

After falling further into the rabbit hole, Rikki lands at the feet of an ancient and powerful evil determined to finish what it started years before. To survive, she’ll have to make a decision: believe Owen is the monster she always feared he might be or trust him enough to stay and fight for a second chance at love.

 

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

 

About ½ way through Touch of Smoke and my mind was teeming with questions.

How did Nina die?

What was Owen’s part in Nina’s death?

What’s up with Rikki’s nightmares?

How can Owen afford everything he’s buying?

Who’s the mystery man in the black ball cap, polo shirt and khaki shorts?

I had many more questions and I needed answers. I wanted to know more about Rikki’s life — past, present and future. And it wasn’t just Rikki’s story that I wanted to know more about. Was Owen a good guy or was he a sheep in wolf’s clothing. I pressed on to the 2nd half of Touch of Smoke, looking forward to getting some answers.

 

In the 2nd half of Touch of Smoke, I got most of my answers. Owen finally opened up and told Rikki his deep, dark secret. A secret I won’t share because it would reveal too much about the plot.

I will admit that Rikki did annoy me at times except during the battle scene. During that section, she impressed me and then I thought…. Maybe this chick is all right after all.

As for Owen: I loved him, from first introduction to the very last page. As the legendary Salt-N-Pepa would say…

 

What a man, what a man, what a man,
What a mighty good man
Gotta say it again now
What a man, what a man, what a man,
What a mighty good man
He’s a mighty mighty good man

 

Technically, Owen is more than just a man BUT to learn more you must purchase a copy and find out for yourself!

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤

 

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Karissa lives in North Carolina with her kid, her husband, the occasional in-law, and a very hairy husky named Bonnie. Some of her favorite things are coffee, dark chocolate, super heroes and Star Wars. She can quote Princess Bride verbatim. In the summer she’s camping, kayaking, and boating at the lake, and in the winter, she’s curled up with a good book.

 

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Review of “Into the Crossfire (First Force Book 1)” – Cindy McDonald

Jack Haliday has a score to settle. 

It has been four years since ex-Navy SEAL Jack Haliday, had an explosive run-in with a biker gang, wounding their leader, Gunner. During those years, Jack had acquired everything he ever wanted: a beautiful wife, daughter, and a lovely home in the suburbs–everything was just about as perfect as it could get, until Gunner returned to twist Jack’s world inside-out with a vengeance that he could never have prepared for. 

Now Jack has a score to settle and he’s got some friends to help him do it.

 

 

(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

Starting from the end of chapter three, Into the Crossfire was non-stop action. There were kidnappings, gun battles, a knife fight, and a house fire. Basically, Cindy McDonald threw everything at us but the kitchen sink and that’s a good thing.

Honestly, there wasn’t too much I would change. I adored Lil, the 4-year-old cutie pie. Every time she entered a scene she cut the tension drastically and this book definitely needed it. It was an intense read.

 

Other positive things to note:

Cindy McDonald integrated the flashbacks moments featuring Dr. Rayne Lee very nicely into the storyline. She also didn’t overwhelm us with a bunch of team members. She introduced us to only a handful, which means many more books in the series. All in all, a good read.

Recommend: YES!

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤

 

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For 26 years Cindy’s life whirled around a song and a dance–she was a professional choreographer. She taught ballet, jazz, and tap. During that time she choreographed many musicals and an opera for the Pittsburgh Savoyards. Most recently, she has retired to write her novels. She resides with her husband and Cocker Spaniel, Allister, on their Thoroughbred farm know as Fly By Night Stables near Pittsburgh.

You can also find out about her cozy mystery series, Fiona Quinn Mysteries, and her children’s books under her pen name, C.S. McDonald. 

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Into the Crossfire: Amazon Purchase Link
To The Breaking Pointe: Amazon Purchase Link
Into the Dark: Amazon Purchase Link
To the Brink: Amazon Purchase Link
Into the Dawn: Amazon Purchase Link
Complete series: Amazon Purchase Link

 

 

 

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