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The Poet: Book Review & Blog Tour

The Poet

Author: Lisa Renee Jones

Mass Market Paperback: 368 Pages

Publisher: Entangled: Amara (March 9, 2021)

Genre: Crime/mystery

Thank you to TLC Book Tours and the publisher for my gifted copy of this book in exchange for my honest review!

Synopsis:

“The poet is a liar who always speaks the truth.” -Jean Cocteau

Some call him friend or boss.
Some call him husband or dad.
Some call him son, even a favorite son.

But the only title that matters to him is the one the media has given him: The Poet.

A name he earned from the written words he leaves behind after he kills that are as dark and mysterious as the reason he chooses his victims.

One word, two, three, a story in a poem, a secret that only Detective Samantha Jazz can solve. Because he’s writing this story for her.

She just doesn’t know it yet.

Review:

If you love books about books & writing and books about serial killers, then this book is for you!

This fast-paced police procedural/mystery was an excellent read. The premise was well researched and the poetry added an extra layer of intrigue for the reader.

The characters were interesting and a bit of a mystery on their own. Samantha, the detective, did come off a bit flat to me and I’m hoping that is due to this book being the first in a series – I will definitely read the next one to find out more!

The writing was well done and while I guessed who the killer was, I still enjoyed the twists and turns and the procedures the police employed to solve the mystery.

This was my first book by this author and will not be my last. I’m always thrilled to find new-to-me authors and even more excited to find a new series to read.

Thank you to TLC Book Tours and Entangled for the gifted copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

This book is now available from your local bookseller!

Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

 Entangled Publishing

About Lisa Renee Jones

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones is the author of the highly acclaimed INSIDE OUT series. Suzanne Todd (Alice in Wonderland) on the INSIDE OUT series: Lisa has created a beautiful, complicated, and sensual world that is filled with intrigue and suspense. Sara’s character is strong, flawed, complex, and sexy – a modern girl we all can identify with.

In addition to the success of Lisa’s INSIDE OUT series, Lisa has published many successful titles. The TALL, DARK AND DEADLY series and THE SECRET LIFE OF AMY BENSEN series, both spent several months on a combination of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling lists. Lisa’s other bestselling series include: DIRTY RICH and WHITE LIES.

Prior to publishing Lisa owned multi-state staffing agency that was recognized many times by The Austin Business Journal and also praised by the Dallas Women’s Magazine. In 1998 Lisa was listed as the #7 growing women owned business in Entrepreneur Magazine.

Connect with Lisa

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

To win a copy of this book, please check out my giveaway on Instagram!

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Beauty Among Ruins: Review & Blog Tour

 

Beauty Among Ruins

Author: J’Nell Ciesielski

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Genre: WWI Historical/Christian Romance

Pages: 416

In Ciesielski’s latest sweeping romance, an American heiress finds herself in Scotland amid the fallout of the Great War, and a wounded Scottish laird comes face-to-face with his past and a woman he never could have expected.

Synopsis:

American socialite Lily Durham is known for enjoying one moment to the next, with little regard for the consequences of her actions. But just as she is banished overseas to England as a “cure” for her frivolous ways, the Great War breaks out and wreaks havoc. She joins her cousin in nursing the wounded at a convalescent home deep in the wilds of Scotland at a crumbling castle where its laird is less than welcoming.

Alec MacGregor has given his entire life to preserving his home of Kinclavoch Castle, but mounting debts force him to sell off his family history bit by bit. Labeled a coward for not joining his countrymen in the trenches due to an old injury, he opens his home to the Tommies to make recompense while he keeps to the shadows. But his preference for the shadows is shattered when a new American nurse comes streaming into the castle on a burst of light.

Lily and Alec are thrown together when a series of mysterious events threatens to ruin the future of Kinclavoch. Can they put aside their differences to find the culprit before it’s too late, or will their greatest distraction be falling in love?

Review:

This book is sure to captivate a reader as a historical romance with a dash of Beauty and The Beast. The characters are lively and well-developed with backstories that made them equally interesting and endearing.

I found myself rooting from Lily and Alec from the start and found both of them likeable – something I struggle within the romance genre. No brooding and troubled characters here which was a refreshing change.

The Scottish countryside and crumbling castle were the perfect backdrop for this story and the author did an excellent job of capturing both the time period and the mysterious atmosphere of the castle.

If you are looking for an escape read with a satisfying ending, Beauty Among Ruins fits that bill perfectly.

Make this your next read:

Purchase Links:

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble Thomas Nelson

 

With a passion for heart-stopping adventure and sweeping love stories, J’nell Ciesielski weaves fresh takes into romances of times gone by. When not creating dashing heroes and daring heroines, she can be found dreaming of Scotland, indulging in chocolate of any kind, or watching old black and white movies. Winner of the INSPY and the Maggie Award, she is a Florida native who now lives in Virginia with her husband, daughter, and lazy beagle.

Connect with J’nell

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Thank you to TLC Book Tours and Thomas Nelson for my gifted copy in exchange for my honest review.
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Lies, Lies, Lies Review & Blog Tour

Book Details:

LIES LIES LIES

Author: Adele Parks

ISBN: 9780778360889

Publication Date: August 4, 2020

Publisher: MIRA Books

 

Book Summary:

LIES LIES LIES Centers on the story of Simon and Daisy Barnes. To the outside world, Simon and Daisy look like they have a perfect life. They have jobs they love, an angelic, talented daughter, a tight group of friends… and they have secrets too. Secrets that will find their way to the light, one way or the other.

Daisy and Simon spent almost a decade hoping for the child that fate cruelly seemed to keep from them. It wasn’t until, with their marriage nearly in shambles and Daisy driven to desperation, little Millie was born. Perfect in every way, healing the Barnes family into a happy unit of three. Ever indulgent Simon hopes for one more miracle, one more baby. But his doctor’s visit shatters the illusion of the family he holds so dear.

Now, Simon has turned to the bottle to deal with his revelation and Daisy is trying to keep both of their secrets from spilling outside of their home. But Daisy’s silence and Simon’s habit begin to build until they set off a catastrophic chain of events that will destroy life as they know it. 

Review:

This book follows a fairly typical formula for domestic thrillers. Secrets, lies, unreliable narration, and bombshell revelations.

I enjoyed the book at the beginning. It was engaging and I was curious to see where it went. I like multi-POV plots and this one was done well. It allowed for good character development, even if they were flawed individuals.

Now for the things that were not my favorite – first being the portrayal of Simon’s alcoholism. He had a severe problem and the author probably could have done a bit more research on the subject. When written well, addiction can draw a reader even further into the story. Here, it became a distraction to me. And Daisy – she ultimately came off weak which was disappointing when she started off as a strong character with a sense of humor and a solid identity.

There were some good twists in this plot but after a few, they felt implausible and over the top. This of course is just my opinion – for die hard domestic thriller lovers, I suspect they will enjoy chain of events in this book.

This was not my favorite Adele Parks book but this won’t stop me from reading her next book. We can’t love all the books and again, there will be plenty who do enjoy this book. It’s a quick read and a nice summer escape.

About the Author:

Adele Parks was born in Teesside, North-East England. Her first novel, Playing Away, was published in 2000 and since then she’s had seventeen international bestsellers, translated into twenty-six languages, including I Invited Her In. She’s been an Ambassador for The Reading Agency and a judge for the Costa. She’s lived in Italy, Botswana and London, and is now settled in Guildford, Surrey, with her husband, teenage son and cat.

Social Links:

Social Links:

Author Website

Twitter: @AdeleParks

Instagram: @adele_parks

Facebook: @OfficialAdeleParks

Goodreads

Purchase:

Buy Links: 

Harlequin 

Barnes & Noble

Amazon

Books-A-Million

Powell’s

Thank you to MIRA and NetGalley for the gifted eBook in exchange for my honest review. This book is available for purchase tomorrow, August 4th.

 

 

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The Friendship List blog tour & excerpt

About:

Author: Susan Mallery

Hardcover: 384 pages

Publisher: Harlequin; Original edition (August 4, 2020)

Synopsis:

[ ] Dance till dawn

[ ] Go skydiving

[ ] Wear a bikini in public

[ ] Start living

Two best friends jump-start their lives in a summer that will change them forever…

Single mom Ellen Fox couldn’t be more content—until she overhears her son saying he can’t go to his dream college because she needs him too much. If she wants him to live his best life, she has to convince him she’s living hers.

So Unity Leandre, her best friend since forever, creates a list of challenges to push Ellen out of her comfort zone. Unity will complete the list, too, but not because she needs to change. What’s wrong with a thirtysomething widow still sleeping in her late husband’s childhood bed?

The Friendship List begins as a way to make others believe they’re just fine. But somewhere between “wear three-inch heels” and “have sex with a gorgeous guy,” Ellen and Unity discover that life is meant to be lived with joy and abandon, in a story filled with humor, heartache and regrettable tattoos.

Excerpt: Chapter One

“I should have married money,” Ellen Fox said glumly. “That would have solved all my problems.”
Unity Leandre, her best friend, practically since birth, raised her eyebrows. “Because that was an option so many times and you kept saying no?”
“It could have been. Maybe. If I’d ever, you know, met a rich guy I liked and wanted to marry.”
“Wouldn’t having him want to marry you be an equally important part of the equation?”
Ellen groaned. “This is not a good time for logic. This is a good time for sympathy. Or giving me a winning lottery ticket. We’ve been friends for years and you’ve never once given me a winning lottery ticket.”
Unity picked up her coffee and smiled. “True, but I did give you my pony rides when we celebrated our eighth birthdays.”
A point she would have to concede, Ellen thought. With their birthdays so close together, they’d often had shared parties. The summer they’d turned eight, Unity’s mom had arranged for pony rides at a nearby farm. Unity had enjoyed herself, but Ellen had fallen in love with scruffy Mr. Peepers, the crabby old pony who carried them around the paddock. At Ellen’s declaration of affection for the pony, Unity had handed over the rest of her ride tickets, content to watch Ellen on Mr. Peepers’s wide back.
“You were wonderful about the pony rides,” Ellen said earnestly, “And I love that you were so generous. But right now I really need a small fortune. Nothing overwhelming. Just a tasteful million or so. In return, I’ll give back the rides on Mr. Peepers.”
Unity reached across the kitchen table and touched Ellen’s arm. “He really wants to go to UCLA?”
Ellen nodded, afraid if she spoke, she would whimper. After sucking in a breath, she managed to say, “He does. Even with a partial scholarship, the price is going to kill me.” She braced herself for the ugly reality. “Out-of-state costs, including room and board, are about sixty-four thousand dollars.” Ellen felt her heart skip a beat and not out of excitement. “A year. A year! I don’t even bring home that much after taxes. Who has that kind of money? It might as well be a million dollars.”
Unity nodded. “Okay, now marrying money makes sense.”
“I don’t have a lot of options.” Ellen pressed her hand to her chest and told herself she wasn’t having a heart attack. “You know I’d do anything for Coop and I’ll figure this out, but those numbers are terrifying. I have to start buying lottery scratchers and get a second job.” She looked at Unity. “How much do you think they make at Starbucks? I could work nights.”
Unity, five inches taller, with long straight blond hair, grabbed her hands. “Last month it was University of Oklahoma and the month before that, he wanted to go to Notre Dame. Cooper has changed his mind a dozen times. Wait until you go look at colleges this summer and he figures out what he really wants, then see who offers the best financial aid before you panic.” Her mouth curved up in a smile. “No offense, Ellen, but I’ve tasted your coffee. You shouldn’t be working anywhere near a Starbucks.”
“Very funny.” Ellen squeezed her hands. “You’re right. He’s barely seventeen. He won’t be a senior until September. I have time. And I’m saving money every month.”
It was how she’d been raised, she thought. To be practical, to take responsibility. If only her parents had thought to mention marrying for money.
“After our road trip, he may decide he wants to go to the University of Washington after all, and that would solve all my problems.”
Not just the money ones, but the loneliness ones, she thought wistfully. Because after eighteen years of them being a team, her nearly grown-up baby boy was going to leave her.
“Stop,” Unity said. “You’re getting sad. I can see it.”
“I hate that you know me so well.”
“No, you don’t.”
Ellen sighed. “No, I don’t, but you’re annoying.”
“You’re more annoying.”
They smiled at each other.
Unity stood, all five feet ten of her, and stretched. “I have to get going. You have young minds to mold and I have a backed-up kitchen sink to deal with, followed by a gate repair and something with a vacuum. The message wasn’t clear.” She looked at Ellen. “You going to be okay?”
Ellen nodded. “I’m fine. You’re right. Coop will change his mind fifteen more times. I’ll wait until it’s a sure thing, then have my breakdown.”
“See. You always have a plan.”
They walked to the front door. Ellen’s mind slid back to the ridiculous cost of college.
“Any of those old people you help have money?” she asked. “For the right price, I could be a trophy wife.”
Unity shook her head. “You’re thirty-four. The average resident of Silver Pines is in his seventies.”
“Marrying money would still solve all my problems.”
Unity hugged her, hanging on tight for an extra second. “You’re a freak.”
“I’m a momma bear with a cub.”
“Your cub is six foot three. It’s time to stop worrying.”
“That will never happen.”
“Which is why I love you. Talk later.”
Ellen smiled. “Have a good one. Avoid spiders.”
“Always.”

Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

About Susan Mallery

#1 NYT bestselling author Susan Mallery writes heartwarming, humorous novels about the relationships that define our lives-family, friendship, romance. She’s known for putting nuanced characters in emotional situations that surprise readers to laughter. Beloved by millions, her books have been translated into 28 languages.Susan lives in Washington with her husband, two cats, and a small poodle with delusions of grandeur. Visit her at SusanMallery.com.

Thank you to TLC Book Tours and Harlequin Books for my gifted eBook in exchange for my promotion.

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The Black Swan of Paris: blog tour and excerpt

THE BLACK SWAN OF PARIS

Author: Karen Robards

Publication Date: June 30, 2020

Publisher: MIRA

BOOK SUMMARY: 

For fans of The Alice Network and The Lost Girls of Paris comes a thrilling standalone by New York Times bestselling author Karen Robards about a celebrated singer in WWII occupied France who joins the Resistance to save her estranged family from being killed in a German prison.

In Occupied France, the Resistance trembles on the brink of destruction. Its operatives, its secrets, its plans, all will be revealed. One of its leaders, wealthy aristocrat Baron Paul de Rocheford, has been killed in a raid and the surviving members of his cell, including his wife the elegant Baronness Lillian de Rocheford, have been arrested and transported to Germany for interrogation and, inevitably, execution.

Captain Max Ryan, British SOE, is given the job of penetrating the impregnable German prison where the Baroness and the remnants of the cell are being held and tortured. If they can’t be rescued he must kill them before they can give up their secrets.

Max is in Paris, currently living under a cover identity as a show business impresario whose star attraction is Genevieve Dumont. Young, beautiful Genevieve is the toast of Europe, an icon of the glittering entertainment world that the Nazis celebrate so that the arts can be seen to be thriving in the occupied territories under their rule.

What no one knows about Genevieve is that she is Lillian and Paul de Rocheford’s younger daughter. Her feelings toward her family are bitter since they were estranged twelve years ago. But when she finds out from Max just what his new assignment entails, old, long-buried feelings are rekindled and she knows that no matter what she can’t allow her mother to be killed, not by the Nazis and not by Max. She secretly establishes contact with those in the Resistance who can help her. Through them she is able to contact her sister Emmy, and the sisters put aside their estrangement to work together to rescue their mother.

It all hinges on a command performance that Genevieve is to give for a Gestapo General in the Bavarian town where her mother and the others are imprisoned. While Genevieve sings and the show goes on, a daring rescue is underway that involves terrible danger, heartbreaking choices, and the realization that some ties, like the love between a mother and her daughters and between sisters, are forever.

EXCERPT:

CHAPTER ONE

May 15, 1944

When the worst thing that could ever happen to you had already happened, nothing that came after really mattered. The resultant state of apathy was almost pleasant, as long as she didn’t allow herself to think about it—any of it—too much.

She was Genevieve Dumont, a singer, a star. Her latest sold-out performance at one of Paris’s great theaters had ended in a five-minute standing ovation less than an hour before. She was acclaimed, admired, celebrated wherever she went. The Nazis loved her.

She was not quite twenty-five years old. Beautiful when, like now, she was dolled up in all her after-show finery. Not in want, not unhappy.

In this time of fear and mass starvation, of worldwide deaths on a scale never seen before in the whole course of human history, that made her lucky. She knew it. 

Whom she had been before, what had almost destroyed her—that life belonged to someone else. Most of the time, she didn’t even remember it herself.

She refused to remember it.

A siren screamed to life just meters behind the car she was traveling in. Startled, she sat upright in the back seat, heart lurching as she looked around.

Do they know? Are they after us?

A small knot of fans had been waiting outside the stage door as she’d left. One of them had thrust a program at her, requesting an autograph for Francoise. She’d signed—May your heart always sing, Genevieve Dumont—as previously instructed. What it meant she didn’t know. What she did know was that it meant something: it was a prearranged encounter, and the coded message she’d scribbled down was intended for the Resistance.

And now, mere minutes later, here were the Milice, the despised French police who had long since thrown in their lot with the Nazis, on their tail.

Even as icy jets of fear spurted through her, a pair of police cars followed by a military truck flew by. Running without lights, they appeared as no more than hulking black shapes whose passage rattled the big Citroën that up until then had been alone on the road. A split second later, her driver—his name was Otto Cordier; he worked for Max, her manager—slammed on the brakes. The car jerked to a stop.

“Sacre bleu!” Flying forward, she barely stopped herself from smacking into the back of the front seat by throwing her arms out in front of her. “What’s happening?”

“A raid, I think.” Peering out through the windshield, Otto clutched the steering wheel with both hands. He was an old man, short and wiry with white hair. She could read tension in every line of his body. In front of the car, washed by the pale moonlight that painted the scene in ghostly shades of gray, the cavalcade that had passed them was now blocking the road. A screech of brakes and the throwing of a shadow across the nearest building had her casting a quick look over her shoulder. Another military truck shuddered to a halt, filling the road behind them, stopping it up like a cork in a bottle. Men—German soldiers along with officers of the Milice—spilled out of the stopped vehicles. The ones behind swarmed past the Citroën, and all rushed toward what Genevieve tentatively identified as an apartment building. Six stories tall, it squatted, dark and silent, in its own walled garden.

“Oh, no,” she said. Her fear for herself and Otto subsided, but sympathy for the targets of the raid made her chest feel tight. People who were taken away by the Nazis in the middle of the night seldom came back.

The officers banged on the front door. “Open up! Police!”

It was just after 10:00 p.m. Until the siren had ripped it apart, the silence blanketing the city had been close to absolute. Thanks to the strictly enforced blackout, the streets were as dark and mysterious as the nearby Seine. It had rained earlier in the day, and before the siren the big Citroën had been the noisiest thing around, splashing through puddles as they headed back to the Ritz, where she was staying for the duration of her Paris run.

“If they keep arresting people, soon there will be no one left.” Genevieve’s gaze locked on a contingent of soldiers spreading out around the building, apparently looking for another way in—or for exits they could block. One rattled a gate of tall iron spikes that led into the brick-walled garden. It didn’t open, and he moved on, disappearing around the side of the building. She was able to follow the soldiers’ movements by the torches they carried. Fitted with slotted covers intended to direct their light downward so as to make them invisible to the Allied air-raid pilots whose increasingly frequent forays over Paris aroused both joy and dread in the city’s war-weary citizens, the torches’ bobbing looked like the erratic flitting of fireflies in the dark.

Excerpted from The Black Swan of Paris by Karen Robards, Copyright © 2020 by Karen Robards. Published by MIRA Books.

BIO: 

Karen Robards is the New York Times, USA TODAY and Publishers Weekly bestselling author of more than fifty novels and one novella. She is the winner of six Silver Pen awards and numerous other awards.

SOCIAL:

Author Website: http://karenrobards.com/

TWITTER: @TheKarenRobards

FB: @AuthorKarenRobards

 

BUY LINKS:

Harlequin 

Indiebound

Amazon

Barnes & Noble 

Books-A-Million

Thank you to MIRA and NetGalley for an eCopy of this book in exchange for my promotion and forthcoming review.