Tag Archives: suspense

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
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Author Showcase – Kelley Kaye (Death by Diploma: Chalkboard Outlines Book 1)

Emma Lovett leaves her philandering husband and crosses the country to begin her teaching career at a high school in Pinewood, Colorado.There, she meets Leslie Parker, a fellow teacher given to quoting Shakespeare to fit all situations, and the two become fast friends.

Arriving at work early one morning, Emma discovers the body of the school custodian, a man who reminds her of her late father. When the police struggle to find the killer, the ladies decide to help solve the murder. Their efforts lead them to a myriad of suspects: the schizophrenic librarian, the crude football coach, the mysterious social studies teacher, and even Emma’s new love interest.

As Emma Lovett discovers the perils of teaching high school, she and Leslie learn more than they ever wanted to know about the reasons people kill.

 

 

 

 

You shall not know by what strange accident I chanced on this letter.

—The Merchant of Venice V.I.278–9

 

Prologue Wednesday, August 26
 

Dearest Mickey,

Please, please write me back. Oh, I’m so worried these letters aren’t finding their way to you. Our love deserves a chance to flourish. I know you think so too. You might want to give me one of your favorite quotes: “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened,” but you don’t really feel that way. I don’t believe we’re over, not yet.

Never forget how much I love you—let the colors remind you. Your Airborne Raquel Welch is thinking of you.

Love, Marlena
 
 

Melvin McManus ran his fingers over the letter again. The paper was worn until almost transparent, and the care with which he folded it and inserted it back into its envelope made it seem as though he held a priceless jewel. He picked up his silver flask and stared at it. His left hand started to raise the flask to his lips, but then he flung it against the wall of the narrow room. He stood.

Melvin closed the small hidden doorway and routed the pipe maze to get to the basement. He stumbled through the basement door and lurched up the stairs, his bulky form weaving as if he weren’t sure of finding the next step. Covering his mouth to muffle a hacking cough, Melvin stopped and listened. He really shouldn’t be there after midnight—his shift only went from three to ten. But sometimes the work took much longer than that, because he hoped the care he took with the building might help the students stop taking this important time in their lives for granted. Many of them did take it for granted, though, and might end up like Melvin, navigating the world without any education or any real options. Those students didn’t make any kind of connection between now and later.

He opened the door at the top of the stairs and continued through the gymnasium and into the hallway. The brown tile on the commons floor gleamed, and he thought of Adam and when he’d found the poor kid splayed out on the now-shiny floor. Melvin had been thrown out into the world so young, he’d never had to deal with schoolyard bullies as Adam had. Poor kid. Melvin ran a hand through his sparse gray hair, pondering.

As Melvin paced through the commons, steadying himself briefly against some lockers and again on a wall painted with a fierce-looking blue cat, he stopped to look at the sign above the main office: “Wildcats: Producing Proud and Productive Future Citizens.” He’d seen that sign many times, but tonight, it made him long to become, finally, the future citizen he wished to be. He didn’t know how much longer he could stand the waiting, even with his helpful hideout in the basement. He knew he was close, though—close to achieving his goal. Edward had said as much last week, and the closer Melvin got, the less he drank and the better he felt. He allowed the moment of anticipation to swell, forgot about the Wildcats sign, and almost ran back to the basement for the letters.

He sighed, an explosive whoosh that flattened his belly and whispered his nose hairs. Almost there, almost there. He looked at his hands, dirty and greasy from work but still strong. He thought of those hands in his younger years, how she’d kissed each of his fingertips as if they were precious. He remembered what those hands had felt like when they held her, and the dirt fell away like magic.

A muffled thump startled him out of his reverie. Crap. Melvin knew he was a little tipsy, not done with his work, and in the wrong part of the building to boot. He walked nonchalantly in the other direction, but he heard the thump again, followed by a tinkling noise like breaking glass. Damn. Maybe he should look. It could be a cat or other animal, and he’d hate to trap one in the school for the whole night.

He peeked through the windows of the main office and looked at the front desk, where the computer monitor flashed and he saw someone sitting. Melvin checked his watch: half past midnight. Oh, he hoped it wasn’t who he thought, but he had to check. After unlocking the doors, he curved around the front counter to approach the left desk and stiffened when he saw who it was.

“Oh, I can see you didn’t listen!” he exclaimed. “We have to make this stop. That’s it; I don’t care what happens. I’m gonna…”

Melvin heard a whoosh followed by a crack, and he felt his body fall as it slammed hard onto the shiny brown tiles.

 

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Ready for book 2 in the Chalkboard Outlines’ series?

Good, then click HERE! 

 

Save time and purchase both today with one link.

 Click On Me!

 

 

Kelley Bowles Gusich writes young adult novels under the pen name Kelley Kay Bowles and cozy mysteries under Kelley Kaye. Her debut novel, cozy mystery Death by Diploma, was released by Red Adept Publishing on February 2016, and is first in her Chalkboard Outlines® series. Book 2, Poison by Punctuation, was released April 2018 and is available now.

Kelley’s new young adult novel, Down in the Belly of the Whale, was released May 5th, 2018 and is now available. Look for it in Kindle, paper, hardcover, and audio book–with Kelley, the author, as narrator! (She used to teach drama and direct plays. She’s a ham.)

Kelley taught high school English and drama for twenty years in Colorado and California, but a 1994 diagnosis of multiple sclerosis has (circuitously and finally) brought her to the life of writer and mother, both occupations she adores and dreamed about way back when she was making up stories revolving around her Barbie and Ken dolls. 

Kelley has two wonderful and funny sons and an amazing husband who cooks for her. She lives in Southern California.

You can learn more about Kelley and contact her through her website and blog at www.kelleykaybowles.com. She wants to hear from you, so don’t be shy about emailing her at kelkay1202(at)yahoo.com, and follow her on social media @KelKay1202. #HarpersPower

Kelley remains ever grateful to her readers for sharing their reviews, comments, and insights!

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Review of “Waves of Murder: A Fiona Quinn Mystery: Fiona Quinn Mysteries, Book 3” – C.S. McDonald

School’s out for the summer!

Kindergarten teacher Fiona Quinn is looking forward to spending some quality time in her yard and with her boyfriend, Detective Nathan Landry. However, Fiona’s plans get squelched when her mother volunteers her to edit a manuscript for famous romance author Wyla Parkes.

What’s so bad about that? The author insists Fiona must work on the manuscript at her beach cottage on Presque Isle – three hours away from her yard and Nathan. Spending six weeks in an adorable cottage on a private beach doesn’t really seem all that bad until people start turning up dead – beginning with the author! Fiona’s summer of sun and sand is instantly transformed into a murder investigation. Can Fiona and Nathan crack the case or will the murderer getaway on a wave of deceit?

Join Fiona and the gang for a hot whodunit on the sandy beaches of Presque Isle, Pennsylvania!

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

You ever meet a character and just know they are shady and guilty of something? Well, that’s exactly what I experienced in Waves of Murder.

There were three murders and I was only surprised by one revelation. This revelation (keeping things vague on purpose) wrapped up all three murders into a nice little package.

I do love stories that have a complete ending!

Now even though this book dealt in death, C.S. McDonald added a fair amount of humor to keep the story light and flowing at a nice pace. What else did she add that fans might adore? Chocolate….. many, many, many mentions of chocolate. I can definitely tell C.S. has a sweet tooth.

 

Now onto the big questions….

Would I recommend this book to others? Yes!

Would I recommend having a stash of chocolate nearby incase C.S. McDonald’s mentioning of candy bars activates your own sweet tooth? ABSOLUTELY! Just be sure and not smear any chocolate on the pages because you won’t want to miss a single moment of Waves of Murder.

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤

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For twenty-six years C.S. McDonald’s life whirled around a song and a dance. She was a professional dancer and choreographer. During that time she choreographed many musicals and an opera for the Pittsburgh Savoyards. In 2011 she retired from her dance career to write. Under her real name, Cindy McDonald, writes murder-suspense and romantic suspense novels. In 2014 she added the pen name, C.S. McDonald, to write children’s books for her grandchildren. Now she adds the Fiona Quinn Mysteries to that expansion. She decided to write the cozy mystery series for her young granddaughters.

Ms. McDonald resides on her Thoroughbred farm known as Fly by Night Stables near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with her husband, Bill, and her Cocker Spaniel, Allister.

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Murder On Pointe, book one: Amazon Purchase Link

Merry Murder, book two: Amazon Purchase Link

Waves of Murder, book three: Amazon Purchase Link

Tastes Like Murder, book four: Amazon Purchase Link

Good Luck to Murder, book five: Amazon Purchase Link

Mambo and Murder, book six: Amazon Purchase Link

 

Short stories

Banking on a Murder: Amazon Purchase Link

Harriet’s Heist: Amazon Purchase Link

 

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Author Showcase – Cynthia Eden (Protecting Piper) (Guarding Gwen)

She was off-limits.

Eric Wilde has always known that Piper Lane isn’t for him. She is his younger brother’s best friend…and probably more. But that hasn’t stopped Eric from wanting her. For longing for the one woman that he can’t have. Sure, he’s rich, successful—he’s built a security empire, and he’s got the world at his feet. Only he doesn’t have her. 

He is the one man she needs the most.

Free-spirited Piper Lane has always considered Eric to be the enemy. He’s seemed to resent her, and the guy just flat-out makes her nervous. Every time she’s around him, she winds up doing something horribly embarrassing. But, this time…everything has changed. This time, he’s the one man she needs the most.

Something is stalking Piper.

A stranger has broken into Piper’s home twice, and she feels like someone is following her. Watching her every move. She needs a professional to help her—so enter Eric Wilde. He promises her protection, he promises to put his best investigators on her case, and he even moves her into his house. Suddenly, the guy who has always been the villain in her life…he’s now playing the role of hero.

Everything will change as the danger mounts. 

And maybe Eric isn’t so bad, after all. The more time that Piper spends with him, the more she realizes that her feelings for Eric are far more complicated that she ever imagined. Desire explodes between them even as the danger deepens around her. Someone in the dark is targeting Piper, and he is determined that if he can’t possess her…then he will destroy her.

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Lights. Camera. Action.

Gwenevere Solomon is the current “It” girl in Hollywood. The star of a dozen films, she seemingly has the world at her feet. Gwen’s problem? She also has one very dangerous stalker at her door. His attacks are getting bolder, and Gwen is becoming more and more afraid. Because this stalker…he knows secrets that she’s fought hard to keep buried. The kind of secrets that can destroy a woman’s life.

A ghost from her past can save her.

Gwen needs protection, and she needs that protection now. So enter her new leading her man…Simon Forrest. Tall, dark, and ever-so deadly, Simon is the lover she left behind. Or rather, the lover who left her behind. He went off and became a SEAL, saving the world and riding one adrenaline high after the other. But he’s back now, and as part of Wilde Securities, he’s supposed to offer the best, most discreet protection service in the business. He’ll pretend to be her lover so the press won’t realize her life is going to hell, and Simon will stop her stalker.

He can keep his hands off her…and keep her shielded at the same time.

Simon never got over Gwen, and the fact that she’s been filling the big screen with her gorgeous self? Yeah, it’s just made her even more tempting…and put her even further out of his reach. Simon was never good enough for Gwen, and he knew it. But this time, he can help her. He can catch the stalker, unmask the jerk, and keep Gwen shining in her spotlight. Easy as pie. Or, it should be.

Except…Simon might not be able to stop himself from falling for her all over again. 

Because when the cameras stop watching, that’s when the real action begins…GUARDING GWEN, a sexy romantic suspense from New York Times best-selling author Cynthia Eden.

Author’s Note: Love sexy suspense and second chance romance? Then GUARDING GWEN is for you. A stand-alone romance with no cliff-hangers, this title features one red-hot, alpha hero and a strong, funny heroine who has plenty of secrets hiding in her past.

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