Tag Archives: thriller

Review of “Murder On Pointe: A Fiona Quinn Cozy Mysteries, Book 1” – C.S. McDonald

Fiona can’t wait to attend the performance of Coppelia at the Benedum Center in Pittsburgh. Her old friend, Silja Ramsay, is dancing the principal role. They have dinner after the show, but when they return Pittsburgh Ballet Theater is down one dancer! Ballerina, Alexis Cartwright, has been found dead in the dressing room. Is this murder a result of hot tempers among the cast members? Or is it a random act of violence? Will there be more murders? Homicide Detective, Nathan Landry, isn’t taking any chances. After finding out Fiona has a strong background in ballet he recruits her to go undercover among the cast of Coppelia. Can Fiona help catch a killer, or will she be the next victim?

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

Murder On Pointe: A Fiona Quinn Mystery definitely had A LOT of mystery to keep this lady sleuth engaged in the story.

C.S. McDonald (the author) gave us multiple murders to investigate, many suspects to choose from, and a few surprise twists that will make you happy you kept on reading, even when you think you’ve got it all figured out.

Yeah, I was 95% sure I knew how the story would wrap up and then a certain double-digit chapter happened. (Yes, I am being vague so no one flips ahead to check out his or her hutches.) Darn you C.S. McDonald, you pulled a fast one on me because I never saw that certain someone as a suspect. (Yup, I’m being vague on purpose – again.)

Ladies and gents, I encourage you to read Murder On Pointe: A Fiona Quinn Mystery. I wonder if you’ll be able to solve every single case. I’m thinking C.S. might just stump a few readers like myself.

Happy sleuthing!!

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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Review of “Gaelan’s War” – Thaddeus McGrath

Book one of the Gaelan Kelly Trilogy

WHEN GAELAN KELLY RETURNS FROM WAR, physically and emotionally scarred, he tries to piece a normal life back together. But the horrors of war couldn’t prepare him for the terror he discovers, thrust into a world he never knew existed. Dealing with the trauma of combat and plagued by nightmares of a monster that shouldn’t exist, Gaelan finds himself embroiled in a battle to protect humanity even as he struggles to preserve his own. 

He fought a war of men. Now he fights a war for mankind. But Gaelan’s greatest war will be within.

 

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

Hunters love the thrill of the chase but what if the hunter suddenly becomes the hunted. In the introduction, a deer hunter finds himself in this very predicament. He suddenly understands the fear animals face in the wild and the pain of dying that follows. As I read the gory scene in “Hunting Grounds,” I knew this book was going to be highly descriptive in future encounters with various monsters. As a reader, I love when an author holds nothing back. In Gaelan’s War, Thaddeus McGrath pulled no punches in delivering many gruesome, finely detailed battle scenes.

Gaelan, a Marine, faced many horrors on the battlefield and more when he retuned home. In the Middle East, he watched many comrades die in battle. At home, he witnessed his parents savagely killed by a beast. At the time, he had no idea it was a werewolf or that he was about to become one. With the assistance of Father Denny and Master Oonishi, he had a second chance at life. Instead of dying, he trained to control his beast and fight the monsters feasting on mortals.

Every battle scene was exceptionally written. Gaelan’s most memorable supernatural fight scenes involved him battling a vampire, cobalus, and a pack of wolves.

Gaelan was no ordinary werewolf. He wasn’t a complete monster. He can do something extraordinary…. He can control the beast instead of the beast controlling him. 

No one can truly understand why and how Gaelan is different than other werewolves. Maybe he carried over some of the traits he had as a mortal man: strength, honor, loyalty, and compassion. He was a respected soldier; a man his fellow soldiers could rely on during battle. As a werewolf, nothing’s changed. He’s still a fierce warrior. 

I recommend anyone who loves supernatural/horror stories to read Gaelan’s War.

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤

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Thaddeus McGrath is a former U.S. Marine Corps fighter/attack pilot, a veteran of the War on Terror and a graduate of the United States Naval Academy.  He has loved writing since he was a boy. His debut novel, Gaelan’s War, was inspired by a desire to continue the discussion about PTSD, and a love of all things supernatural.  In his world, werewolves aren’t big dogs and vampires definitely don’t sparkle! He lives in Northern Virginia with his wife, kids, and oversized dogs.

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Review of “Dangerous Currents ” – Kathryn Knight

When a costly mistake ends Malorie Montgomery’s career, she returns to Cape Cod in search of a fresh start. But her plans for a new–and quiet–life are quickly derailed when she makes a grisly discovery in the woods, and her screams bring the one person from her past she’d hoped to avoid. Dean Slater, the ex-boyfriend who broke her heart in high school, now lives in the beachfront community that was supposed to be her haven…and he’s just as hot as he was six years ago. 

With his rough background, Dean always knew he wasn’t good enough for the kind, intelligent beauty who claimed his heart, but somehow he’d believed their love was strong enough to survive anything–until the tragic night she turned her back on him when he needed her trust the most. Despite their painful history, Dean can’t resist the instinct to protect her, especially when it becomes apparent there’s a killer in their town. 

Their former chemistry soon reignites, but Malorie has long accepted that her dark family secret has destined her to a life alone. And when she uncovers evidence that makes her the killer’s target, a deadly confrontation threatens to destroy any possibility of a second chance. 

 

He took a step closer, eliminating the small distance between them. “I wasn’t about to let him hurt you.” He paused, his strained expression revealing an internal struggle. Clenching his jaw, he closed his eyes for a moment. When he opened them, their green depths flashed with something like defiance, and he cursed under his breath. “The thing is,” he finally continued, his tone rough with barely harnessed emotion, “I still feel…protective of you. I want to keep you safe.”

Her lungs stopped working. Alarm bells jangled in a distant part of her mind as he leaned over her. This was dangerous. She was dangerous. Swallowing past the knot in her throat, she forced the words out. “You don’t need to feel that way.”

His hands gripped her shoulders, setting her skin on fire. He lowered his head, bringing his lips inches from hers. “I don’t think I can control it.”

She couldn’t move. She simply didn’t have the willpower—or the desire—to stop this from happening. Every cell in her body was clamoring with need for him; it was a force of its own. All coherent thought fled as the moment stretched out in an agonizing slide toward the inevitable.

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

Dangerous Currents began with the discovery of a young, dead woman. Malorie was only back in Cape Cod for 14 hours when her and her dog, Brady, stumbled upon the gruesome finding. It was a startling encounter and so was the following moment when her ex-love, Dean, came running when he heard her scream. Talk about a bad day.

Dean, the ex who stole Malorie’s heart as a teenager, came to her rescue a few times in this story. He was there for her when it mattered most and she didn’t let him push her away when his world came crashing down around him.

 

For the most part, this story was an okay read. I only wish two things.

  • I wish more time was spent on the psychopath.
  • I wish the psychopath’s identity wasn’t so easy to figure out.

 

Even though much time wasn’t really spent on this mentally ill man, I did appreciate the fact mental illness was addressed in this story.  Mental illness isn’t discussed enough in our society and it should be.

Mal’s mom suffered from paranoid schizophrenia. Mal was concerned she would develop symptoms soon. It’s why she shied away from Dean. She didn’t want to burden him with the illness. She had no intention of having children because she stated there’s a 12% chance a child would develop schizophrenia if a parent is affected with it. These are fears many individuals face on a daily basis. 

Kathryn Knight pointed out another truth about mental illness. People with mental illness want love, to be loved, but they don’t want to sidle people with the negative aspects of their illness.

For addressing this real issue many people battle, I thank you. We need more people talking about mental illness. Everyone deserves a happily ever after like Malorie.

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤

 

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Kathryn Knight spends a great deal of time in her fictional world, where mundane chores don’t exist and daily life involves steamy romance, dangerous secrets, and spooky suspense. Her novels are award-winning #1 Amazon and Barnes & Noble Bestsellers and RomCon Reader-Rated picks. When she’s not reading or writing, Kathryn spends her time catching up on those mundane chores, driving kids around, and teaching fitness classes. She lives on beautiful Cape Cod with her husband, their two sons, and a number of rescued pets. 

 

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Author Showcase – G.E. Stills & Shaunna Rodriguez (Pen & Ink series)

~~ BOOK ONE ~~

What’s worse than being rival authors for competing Publishers? Neighbors that’s what. Leave it to Samantha, Olivia Dixon’s publisher, to find a writer to collaborate with on a new book. Olivia’s thrilled with the idea until she learns the brilliant writer is Gabe Anderson, her detestable neighbor. After a rocky first meeting, the two writers spend several months developing their new book. Working side by side, seven days a week, their relationship evolves into something that transcends normal professionalism. To determine whether this partnership is sweet and clean or down and dirty, they take a break and go camping together. When they return from camping, Olivia still feels uncertain of their relationship. Gabe receives a call from his publisher, Irene. He and Olivia have been invited to a conference in Cancun, Mexico. After check-in they discover, to their consternation, that both their publishers are attending the conference as well. A well-known author’s estranged husband is murdered leaving her as prime suspect, until she ends up in the morgue by his side. Olivia specializes in writing murder mysteries and the temptation to solve one in real life is irresistible. Because of her relationship with Gabe, he becomes involved as well. Can Gabe and Olivia find answers quickly and solve the crime while clearing their friends of suspicion, or will more body bags be needed?

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And the killings begin.

  The doors opened onto an eerily silent floor. It was my floor, but it felt different for some reason. It could be my imagination, I thought, as I stepped out of the elevator and ran to Madeline’s door which was slightly ajar. I frowned and pushed it open with the toe of my black heel and leaned back, listening to the creak of the hinges. My stomach flip-flopped and my heart rate quickened as I stepped into the suite illuminated by a single dim light. The sheers and the cream colored, solid curtain behind them were pulled closed, shutting out the moonlight.

I couldn’t help wondering if that’d make it less or more creepier than it already was. I reached down and slipped my shoes off and dropped them quietly by the door. Next, I glanced left and right, hoping to see Gabe but thus far, there were no signs of him. I walked down three marble steps that opened into the living area and stood in the center of the floor. Looking down at the rug, I did a double-take at the shattered glass that once made up the top of a beautiful coffee table. I studied the blood that colored most of the pieces then screamed bloody murder when arms wrapped around me. I threw my elbow back and caught air just as Gabe spun me around and pinned my arms to my side. He twisted slightly and drew his knee up to block the blow he knew was coming, then yanked me forward before I was the next victim in the glass.

“Baby! Its-it’s me!” Gabe practically yelled over my screaming. He shook my shoulders gently then wrapped his arms around me.

“I said wait downstairs so why are you here?” he asked then leaned me back, shook his head and pulled me to him again.

I had several things I could say, yet, none of them came out. I’m not sure if my screams summoned the police, but the suite door banged the wall and heavy, booted feet could be heard running in. I was positive I heard guns being drawn. Gabe cupped my face in his hands then leaned his forehead against mine and closed his eyes leaving me with the impression he was going to kiss me then disappointing me when he didn’t. Knowing Gabe, this wasn’t a situation that constituted kissing.

“You make me so damn insane, Olivia. What if it hadn’t been me? What if there was a killer still in here? What if they came back for Madeline, because she got away? What if something happened to you?” he scolded. While Gabe held me against him, my mind procced his multitude of what ifs.

An officer was standing beside us now, listening to Gabe fussing at me. He had already holstered his weapon, deducing we were clearly not a threat nor killers. “Do you have any idea what happened here?” the man asked Gabe.

Gabe looked at me then back at the officer. “No,” Gabe said. The officer left to check the rest of the room.

“But I can speculate,” he mumbled for my ears alone.

I sighed knowing what that meant. “We’re writers, Gabe. We’ve written scenes far more in depth than this,” I informed him hotly.

“That’s fiction, Olivia. This is a sick and twisted reality, more so than the far regions of my mind. I don’t want you involved. I don’t want us involved and that’s why I told the officer I had no idea,” Gabe told me pointedly.

“Tough, I’m involved,” I informed him, not backing down.

“Not open for discussion,” Gabe scowled at me.

Another officer had joined us and chuckled as he listened to us going back and forth.

“Married?” he asked amused.

“You’d think that,” we both told him.

“You mean you’re not?” he asked in disbelief.

“All but. We’re dating…exclusively,” Gabe informed him then held my elbow and led me away from the coffee table, AKA, crime scene.

“Stop, Gabe. Stop. I can help,” I protested as he guided me up the three marble steps and to the front door.

“No, you can’t help. I don’t want you involved in this,” he informed me then kissed me and handed me the room key.

“What are you doing?” I demanded.

“I’m going to do a walk through with them since I was the first one here. You go to the room. Take some deep breaths, run a hot bath and I’ll be there in just a minute, baby. I promise. I’ll order room service, we’ll spend the rest of the evening in bed.”

I sighed and rolled my eyes. “Bribery will get you everywhere with me,” I told him.

He wrapped his arms around me and stepped closer. “Would it get me even closer if I told you how in love with you I am?” He kissed my neck and my jaw up to my lips. “I just want my baby to be safe? It’s not that I doubt your mad sleuthing skills. I’ve seen your writing, as we write together but, again, reality, love.” He kissed me then released me and stepped back closing the suite door and shutting me out.

I grumbled and stomped down the hallway and was almost to my suite when I heard what sounded like a crash coming from the elevator. I jumped and spun around then made a mad dash to the doors that opened on their own. I wasn’t sure what freaked me out more. The doors that opened on their own or the large, maroon suitcase in front of me that was leaking a massive amount of blood on the creamy white floor. Curiosity got the best of me. I stepped into the elevator, pushed the ceiling tile that had come down with the bag off, knelt and unzipped it. My hands flew to my mouth as I toppled backward out of the elevator and screamed Gabe’s name at the top of my lungs. I was crying and nearly inconsolable by the time he reached me along with seven armed officers. He turned my face into his shoulder and rubbed my back cursing under his breath the entire time.

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~~ BOOK TWO ~~

Gabe accepts an invitation from his old college roommate Mike after he calls and offers them a week at his Denver cabin. They were in need of a vacation from their heart-pounding getaway to Cancun Mexico where they barely survived after a fellow author and her estranged husband were found murdered at a writers convention. Who could resist a rustic cabin secluded from the world by the thick, ominously quiet woods of Colorado, where even the sound of footfalls would be silent? Like the swirling snowflakes, romantic bliss and their limbs entwined on a bearskin rug sprawled in front of a roaring fire awaits them, so does murder and mayhem which seems to follow Gabe and Olivia everywhere they go. A snowstorm rages while a killer stalks the cabins and the people in them. Can the two writers who just wanted an escape from reality put the pieces together before anyone else dies or goes missing?

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Author Showcase – Chrys Fey (30 Seconds series)

Prequel to 30 Seconds: 60 pages

Blake Herro is a cop in the Cleveland Police Force. Ever since he was a child, he wanted to do right by the city he loved by cleaning up the streets and protecting its citizens. Red, a notorious mobster, has other plans.

On a bitter December night, ten police officers are drawn into a trap and killed by Red’s followers. Blake wants to bring down the Mob to avenge his fallen brothers and to prevent other cops from being murdered. Except the only way he can do that is by infiltrating the Mob.

Every minute he’s with these mobsters he’s in danger. Around every corner lies the threat of coming face to face with a gun. Will he make it out of the Mob alive, or will he be their next victim?

 

 

Blake’s gaze continued to scan the area. Too many officers needed help. Blake strained his eyes to see if the nearest officer was still breathing, but the darkness and flashing lights obscured his vision.

Dread was ripe in his veins, twining his intestines into knots. The assailants who attacked the officers could be lurking nearby, watching and putting him in their sights. Being out in the open with nothing but his Kevlar vest as protection was not where he wanted to be, but the officer he was helping would bleed out if he moved.

Blake studied the officer. His lips were an unnatural shade of blue. He was shivering from the frigid December night as well as blood loss.

“Did you see them?” Blake asked. “Do you know who did this?”

The officer’s lips moved.

Blake leaned forward, bringing his ear to the officer’s mouth. “What was that?”

The officer took a shuddering breath. “Red.”

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Print length: 105 pages

When Officer Blake Herro agreed to go undercover in the Mob, he thought he understood the risks. But he’s made mistakes and now an innocent woman has become their target. He’s determined to protect her at all costs.

The Mob’s death threat turns Dr. Dani Hart’s life upside down, but there is one danger she doesn’t anticipate. As she’s dodging bullets, she’s falling in love with Blake. With danger all around them, will she and Blake survive and have a happy ending, or will the Mob make good on their threat?

 

 

She panted with fear. What if they see the chest? What if we get caught? What if my breath stinks and I’m breathing right into Officer Hottie’s face? She shut her mouth and let oxygen flow through her nose.

Her eyesight slowly adjusted to the darkness and she could see Officer Herro’s silhouette. His head was turned and he was listening to the thuds of heavy boots getting louder; the intruders were coming their way.

Then the thunder of footsteps sounded right next to them. “There’s no one here, Red,” someone announced.

“Look for documents,” a man ordered, who Dani could only assume was Red. “I want the name of the person I’m going to kill.”

A moment later, there was a reply. “All the mail is addressed to a Dr. Hart.”

Hearing her name said aloud by one of the men who had ransacked her place made her want to gasp. Her mouth fell open and her breath was reversing into her lungs, but before she could make a sound, Officer Herro lowered his lips to hers, silencing her. Stunned, she could only lie beneath him with her eyes wide and her body tense. She couldn’t believe he was kissing her. She wanted to push him back, but knew if she did he might hit the inside of the chest, giving away their hiding place. That was when she realized he was kissing her so she wouldn’t gasp.

She let her body relax. After her initial shock faded, she was able to feel his lips. They were comforting and caused a reaction deep inside her. She couldn’t stop her lips from reacting to his. It was an innocent connection, a soft touch of lips. Until his hand slid from her shoulder to her neck and the kiss deepened into something else.

 

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Chrys Fey is the author of the Disaster Crimes Series, a unique concept blending romance, crimes, and disasters. She’s an administrator for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, running their newsletter and book club. She’s also an editor for Dancing Lemur Press.

Fey realized she wanted to write by watching her mother pursue publication. At the age of twelve, she started her first novel, which flourished into a series she later rewrote at seventeen.

Fey lives in Florida and is always on the lookout for hurricanes. She has four cats and three nephews, both keep her entertained with their antics.

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