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False Step by Victoria Helen Stone (Website, Twitter)
Published by Lake Union Publishing on July 1, 2019
Genres: Adult, Adultery, Kidnapping, Mystery, Psychological Suspense, Suspense
Pages: 280
Format: eBook
Source: TLC Book Tours
AmazonBook DepositoryGoodreads

I received this book for free from TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


Stay calm, keep smiling, and watch your step. In this marriage of secrets and lies, nothing is what it seems.

For days, all of Denver, Colorado, has worried over the fate of a missing child, little Tanner Holcomb. Then, a miracle: handsome, athletic Johnny Bradley finds him, frightened but unharmed, on a hiking trail miles from his wealthy family’s mountain home.

In a heartbeat, his rescuer goes from financially strapped fitness trainer to celebrated hero. The heat of the spotlight may prove too much for Johnny’s picture-perfect family, however. His wife, Veronica, despises the pressure of the sudden fame, afraid that secrets and bitter resentments of her marriage may come to light. And she’s willing to do anything to keep them hidden.

But when a shocking revelation exposes an even darker side to Tanner’s disappearance, Veronica realizes that nothing in her life can be trusted. And everything should be feared.
 

Psychological thrillers–ones whose tensions skyrocket the longer you make your way toward the end, and the characters growing more desperate for answers and scared for their lives and their situation. Those are my favorite suspense filled novels, and Victoria Helen Stone’s novel False Step is a perfect example of this type of book. I’ve been reading a lot of new-to-me authors this year, and I haven’t encountered an author that I haven’t really enjoyed their writing yet. I’m glad that Stone’s novel has continued this streak.

Physical therapist Veronica seems to have her life together, with a successful career where she can make a difference in people’s lives, a handsome personal trainer husband, and a cute daughter. But appearances can be deceiving and their marriage is far from perfect, with strains from financial problems due to Johnny’s bringing in an inconsistent income and an affair that he had a few years before. While she loves their daughter, she isn’t thrilled with how Sydney idolizes Johnny and has grown much closer to him than Veronica.

When Johnny goes for a hike in the mountains and finds a missing boy, he becomes an overnight hero. Johnny eats up the attention and turns into an uptick in his personal training business. But Veronica is uncomfortable with the scrutiny from the public–on her, on her marriage, that their child receives in school. Veronica is especially concerned when the police start to question her about Johnny’s whereabouts both on the day when he found the missing boy, as well as the day the boy disappeared. Will they uncover the secrets she is hiding, and worse yet, will she find that her husband has even worse secrets that he’s been hiding from her?

As a main character, Veronica was likable but flawed. As you got to know her better, there was more to like and dislike, and she was much more complex and fleshed out. Her situation was tough to be in, and she definitely made some tough decisions and very stupid mistakes. The secondary characters were fleshed out a bit, but I would have liked to see a bit more from Veronica’s mother and father. There was enough of them sprinkled in to get a good idea of why Veronica was the way she was, but I would have liked to see more from them.

I give False Step a four out of five. While the book started a bit slow for me, it soon picked up pace and settled in for a nice ride told from Veronica’s narrow point of view. Everything was told from Veronica’s mind and eyes, which made the story that much easier to be invested in her as a character.  The writing flowed well and was descriptive enough for me to picture the settings. The explosive ending was a little predictable, but I still thoroughly enjoyed seeing how everything would wrap up. All in all, False Step definitely shows how secrets don’t stay secret forever, especially if more than one person who knows the secret is still alive.

Find FALSE STEP Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | Goodreads About Victoria Helen Stone

Victoria Helen Stone, formerly writing as USA Today bestselling novelist Victoria Dahl, was born and raised in the flattest parts of the Midwest. Now that she’s escaped the plains of her youth, she writes dark suspense from an upstairs office high in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah. She enjoys summer trail hikes with her family almost as much as she enjoys staying inside during the winter. Since leaving the lighter side of fiction, she has written the critically acclaimed, bestselling novels Evelyn, AfterHalf Past; and Jane Doe. For more on the author and her work, visit www.VictoriaHelenStone.com and www.VictoriaDahl.com.

Connect with Victoria Helen Stone Website | Twitter | Goodreads
Victoria Helen Stone’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS for FALSE STEP:
Instagram tour:

Saturday, June 1st: @thriftybibliophile

Saturday, June 1st: @readingbetweenthe_wines

Monday, June 3rd: @sweethoneyandbrei

Tuesday, June 4th: @shereadswithcats

Wednesday, June 5th: @bookstackedblonde

Thursday, June 6th: @ohthebooksshewillread

Saturday, June 8th: @bookishconnoisseur

TBD: Friday, June 7th: @bookishwinterwitch

Review tour:

Tuesday, June 4th: She Reads With Cats

Wednesday, June 5th: @cassies_books_reviews

Thursday, June 6th: @angelareadsbooks

Friday, June 7th: Where the Reader Grows and @wherethereadergrows

Monday,  June 10th: Bewitched Bookworms

Monday, June 10th: @downtogetthefictionon

Tuesday, June 11th: Jessicamap Reviews and @jessicamap

Wednesday, June 12th: Thoughts from a Highly Caffeinated Mind

Thursday, June 13th: @cassidys.bookshelf

Friday, June 14th: Rad Babes Read and @radbabesread

Monday, June 17th: Tar Heel Reader and @tarheelreader

Tuesday, June 18th: What is That Book About – spotlight or guest post

Wednesday, June 19th: @libraryinprogress

Thursday, June 20th: The Pages In-Between and @thepagesinbetween

Friday, June 21st: @readwithjamie

Monday, June 24th: Audio Killed the Bookmark and @beritaudiokilledthebookmark

Tuesday, June 25th: Lori’s Reading Corner – spotlight or guest post

Wednesday, June 26th: @beauty_andthebook

Thursday, June 27th: @love_my_dane_dolly

TBD: Monday, June 3rd: Books and Bindings

The post False Step by Victoria Helen Stone – #TLCBookTours Review appeared first on Bewitched Bookworms.

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A Torch In His Heart by Anna Belfrage (Website, Facebook, Twitter)
Published by Troubador Publishing on September 1, 2018
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Historical, Occult & Supernatural, Physical & Emotional Abuse, Reincarnation, Romance
Pages: 394
Format: eBook
Source: TLC Book Tours
AmazonBook DepositoryGoodreads

I received this book for free from TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


In the long lost ancient past, two men fought over the girl with eyes like the Bosporus under a summer sky. It ended badly. She died. They died.

Since then, they have all tumbled through time, reborn over and over again. Now they are all here, in the same place, the same time and what began so long ago must finally come to an end.

Ask Helle Madsen what she thinks about reincarnation and she’ll laugh in your face. Besides, Helle has other stuff to handle, what with her new, exciting job in London and her drop-dead but seriously sinister boss, Sam Woolf. And then one day Jason Morris walks into her life and despite never having clapped eyes on him before, she recognises him immediately. Very weird. Even more weird is the fact that Sam and Jason clearly hate each other’s guts. Helle’s life is about to become extremely complicated and far too exciting…

ADULT CONTENT: This book contains explicit sex scenes

 

I’ve read many fantastic new-to-me authors this year, and I’m happy to add the wonderful Anna Belfrage to the list with her novel A TORCH IN HIS HEART. Mostly set in the present, this novel follows three people who’ve been reincarnating for 3000 years, two men fighting over one woman life after life. Helle is the princess content with her best childhood friend Jason, vowing that she’ll only marry him from the time she’s a child. But she’s forced to marry Prince Sam who has nothing but evil intentions towards her and her father’s kingdom, and everything goes to hell for Jason, Helle, and Sam in that first life.

In the present day, Helle Madsen thinks she’s lucky to land a job working for the sexy yet dangerous Sam Woolf in England, and the creepy vibes begin for her almost immediately. He seems to be focused on her, and not in a good way or because she does good work. Little does she know that the man she’s dreamed about when she was younger lives and works nearby, and he can feel that she’s near. Jason Morris knows that his soulmate–his Helle–is close, and that he must meet her before Sam finds her and eliminates Jason.

I really enjoyed the suspense, the intrigue, and especially the romance. The relationship between Jason and Helle was full of ups and downs, especially since Helle doesn’t outright remember her past lives like Jason does, but they have such great chemistry together that everything smolders on the page. Sam is such a fantastic villain: dark, mysterious, sexy, powerful, and so hell bent on revenge that he knows no bounds to get what he wants. The dangerous game and struggle for power between Jason and Sam grew so tense and times that I was just waiting for it to boil over, and I was sure that there would be collateral damage.

I give A Torch In His Heart a 4.5 out of 5. I was enthralled as Helle, Jason, and Sam’s first life was slowly played out in flashbacks, and as the entire story was revealed, my heart broke for Jason and Helle. There’s plenty of sexy, passionate moments in this book, and those are balanced out with quite a bit of danger, violence, and threats. The supernatural elements add intriguing aspects to the story, and their abilities certainly complicate matters in the present day. I’m so glad that book two is out right now since the book ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, and I just need to know what happens next!

Find  A TORCH IN HIS HEART Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-MillionGoodreads About Anna Belfrage

Had Anna been allowed to choose, she’d have become a professional time-traveller. As such a profession does not exist, she settled for second best and became a financial professional with two absorbing interests, namely history and writing. These days, Anna combines an exciting day-job with a large family and her writing endeavours. Plus she always finds the time to try out new recipes, chase down obscure rose bushes and initiate a home renovation scheme or two.

Her most recent release, A Torch in His Heart, is a step out of her comfort zone. Having previously published historical fiction & historical romance, with this first book about Jason and Helle Anna offers a dark and titillating contemporary romance, complete with a time-slip angle and hot & steamy scenes.

Connect with Anna Belfrage Website | FacebookTwitter | Goodreads
Anna Belfrage’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS for A TORCH IN HIS HEART:
Instagram tour:

Monday, May 13th: @thecityofdarkclockwork

Tuesday, May 14th: @_ebl_inc_

Wednesday, May 15th: @novelgrounds

Friday, May 17th: @nsiabblog

Saturday, May 18th: @sarahandherbookshelves

Saturday, May 18th: @book_hangover88

Date TBD: Thursday, May 16th: @mixed_matched_socks

Date TBD: Sunday, May 19th: @4_the_love_of_books

Review tour:

Thursday, May 16th: Sincerely Karen Jo

Friday, May 17th: Treestand Book Reviews

Monday, May 20th: Stranded in Chaos

Tuesday, May 21st: Becky on Books

Wednesday, May 22nd: The Romance Dish – author guest post

Wednesday, May 22nd: Bewitched Bookworms

Thursday, May 23rd: Lori’s Reading Corner – author guest post

Friday, May 24th: Openly Bookish

Tuesday, May 28th: From the TBR Pile – author guest post

Wednesday, May 29th: Reading a Page Turner

Thursday, May 30th: Book Reviews and More by Kathy – author guest post

Monday, June 3rd: Cheryl’s Book Nook

Date TBD – Wednesday, May 15th: A Fortress of Books

The post A Torch In His Heart by Anna Belfrage – #TLC Book Tours appeared first on Bewitched Bookworms.

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It’s no secret around here that I really enjoy Susan Mallery’s novels. I’m excited to bring you an excerpt from Susan Mallery’s latest stand alone novel, THE SUMMER OF SUNSHINE AND MARGOT. Join us for an excerpt tour, starting May 28th, followed by a review tour and Instagram tour. Now on to the excerpt from The Summer of Sunshine and Margot:

The house was typical for the neighborhood. Built in the 1920s with a strong Spanish influence, the structure was a U shape with a patio at the center. Just past the kitchen was the mudroom. Beyond that was a family room and then her en suite bedroom. Behind the attached garage was a large workout room she really had to start using.

Exiting the kitchen in the opposite direction led to a formal dining room, a formal living room, then the hallway curved. Declan had an office, then Connor’s room was next, then the master.

The rooms were oversize, the beams in the ceiling original and the garden was something out of a fantasy. Sunshine didn’t know much about plants, but she knew enough to keep her window open so she could smell the night-blooming jasmine just outside.

She walked toward the mudroom, stopping at the walk-in pantry. On the far wall was a wine cellar with glass doors. She figured it must hold at least four hundred bottles of wine, grouped together by type. She pulled out racks, searching for a relatively inexpensive red blend. Dinner was casual and the wine should be, too.

She found a foil cutter and bottle opener in one of the drawers in the pantry and carried the open bottle and two wineglasses back into the kitchen, then opened a bottle of sparkling non- alcoholic apple cider for Connor. If they were going to get fancy, it was nice to share.

While Declan got Connor settled, Sunshine dropped the hot rolls into a large bowl then tossed them with melted butter and garlic. The salad was already in place, as were the plates. She gave Connor and Declan each a roll before putting the extras on the table and taking her chair.

The kitchen table seated six. The three of them were clustered at one end, with her across from Connor. Without thinking, she put salad on his plate, only to realize that might be something his father wanted to do.

“Oh, um, sorry. Did you want to…”

“Go ahead,” Declan said easily, pouring them wine.

She nodded, then waited for him to serve himself before taking the bowl from him and putting salad on her own plate. When she was done, she reached for her glass of wine just as Declan started to hand it to her. They bumped and the glass nearly spilled.

Sunshine felt herself flushing. Great. Just great. The awkward first days were supposed to be over by now. Living in someone’s home, and being an almost-but-not-quite part of the family wasn’t an easy transition.

Declan shook his head. “We have to work on our dinner skills,” he said, his voice teasing.

“Apparently.”

“The last few weeks have been hectic with my work schedule and we haven’t had a chance to get to know each other. If you don’t have plans, why don’t you join me in my study after Connor goes to bed and we’ll talk about how things are going so far.”

“That would be nice,” she said. “Thank you.”

Connor held up his glass of cider. “I want to make a toast.”

“Do you?” Declan raised his wineglass. “What is it?”

Sunshine picked up her glass and waited. She had a feeling this wasn’t going to be the statesmanlike moment Declan seemed to be expecting.

Connor grinned. “And jelly.”

“Toast and jelly,” Declan murmured, before taking a sip of his wine. “I couldn’t be more proud.”

Connor giggled. Sunshine winked at him.

“We went to The Huntington after school today,” she said, picking up her fork. “To the desert garden.”

“My favorite!” Connor announced.

“One day I’ll get to see one of the other gardens. At least I hope so.”

Connor raised his shoulders in an exaggerated sigh. “In two more times. I promise.”

“Yay! And thank you.”

“You’re welcome.” He turned to his father. “How’s the hotel?”

“Good. The building approval has been finalized, so I can get to work on designing the gardens.” He looked at Sunshine. “The decisions about the materials they’re using will influence what I suggest.”

“Sure. You wouldn’t want the flowers to clash with the siding.”

“Exactly. Connor, how was school?”

“Good. I got an A on my spelling test. We studied really hard.”

“The lesson combined spelling words with different kinds of currency,” Sunshine added. “Euro, yen, ruble, the word currency.”

“That one’s hard,” Connor said as he finished his salad. “And ruble is like rubble but only one b.”

“I’d heard that,” Declan told him. “Good for you.” Sunshine had just stood to collect the salad plates when Connor piped up with, “Sunshine starts school on Monday and she’s scared.”

“Yes, well, no one’s interested in that,” she murmured, walking into the kitchen and pulling the lasagna roll-ups out of the oven.

“You’re going back to college?” Declan asked.

“Back would be a misstatement, but yes.” She slid the steaming pasta onto plates and carried them to the table. “I’m at Pasadena City College, studying toward a degree in child psychology. I’m starting with my general education classes.”

“Good for you.”

“Thanks.”

Once she was seated, she sipped her wine and told herself she didn’t care what her boss thought of her lack of education. Just because he had an advanced degree and a fancy job and a house and a kid and his life was totally together didn’t matter to her.

She sighed. It wasn’t Declan, she reminded herself. He simply represented everything she didn’t have. Roots. Direction. A plan. Her twenties had raced by in a series of relationships that left her with exactly nothing to show for the time except for a string of bad decisions and broken hearts. Some of those hearts had even been hers.

But that was all behind her now. She’d had a come-to-Jesus moment, she was focused and she had a life plan. And nothing and no one was going to cause her to veer off course. Of that she was sure.

About THE SUMMER OF SUNSHINE AND MARGOT
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: HQN (Original Edition June 11, 2019)

The Baxter sisters come from a long line of women with disastrous luck in love. But this summer, Sunshine and Margot will turn disasters into destiny…

As an etiquette coach, Margot teaches her clients to fit in. But she’s never faced a client like Bianca, an aging movie star who gained fame—and notoriety—through a campaign of shock and awe. Schooling Bianca on the fine art of behaving like a proper diplomat’s wife requires intensive lessons, forcing Margot to move into the monastery turned mansion owned by the actress’s intensely private son. Like his incredible home, Alec’s stony exterior hides secret depths Margot would love to explore. But will he trust her enough to let her in?

Sunshine has always been the good-time sister, abandoning jobs to chase after guys who used her, then threw her away. No more. She refuses to be “that girl” again. This time, she’ll finish college, dedicate herself to her job as a nanny, and she 100 percent will not screw up her life again by falling for the wrong guy. Especially not the tempting single dad who also happens to be her boss.

Master storyteller Susan Mallery weaves threads of family drama, humor, romance and a wish-you-were-there setting into one of the most satisfying books of the year!

Find THE SUMMER OF SUNSHINE AND MARGOT Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads 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.

Connect with Susan Mallery Website | Facebook | Twitter | InstagramGoodreads
Susan Mallery’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS for THE SUMMER OF SUNSHINE AND MARGOT
Excerpt tour:

Tuesday, May 28th: Sincerely Karen Jo

Wednesday, May 29th: Palmer’s Page Turners

Wednesday, May 29th: Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

Thursday, May 30th: Jathan & Heather

Friday, May 31st: Books and Spoons

Saturday, June 1st: The Lit Bitch

Monday, June 3rd: Audio Killed the Bookmark

Tuesday, June 4th: Bewitched Bookworms

Wednesday, June 5th: Reading Reality

Thursday, June 6th: Romantic Reads and Such

Friday, June 7th: Broken Teepee

Monday, June 10th: Book Reviews and More by Kathy

Instagram tour:

Monday, June 10th: @diaryofaclosetreader

Tuesday, June 11th: @booksandjil

Tuesday, June 11th: @_ebl_inc_

Wednesday, June 12th: @girlandherbooks

Thursday, June 13th: @thebooksellersdaughter

Friday, June 14th: @nerdybooknurse

Friday, June 14th: @radbabesread

Saturday, June 15th: @thesaggingbookshelf

Sunday, June 16th: @ohthebooksshewillread

Monday, June 17th: @pnwbookworm

Review tour:

Monday, June 10th: Book Reviews and More by Kathy

Tuesday, June 11th: Satisfaction for Insatiable Reads

Wednesday, June 12th: Palmer’s Page Turners

Thursday, June 13th: Reading Reality

Friday, June 14th: Kahakai Kitchen

Monday, June 17th: Pacific Northwest Bookworm

Tuesday, June 18th: Bewitched Bookworms

Wednesday, June 19th: Booked on a Feeling

Thursday, June 20th: Seaside Book Nook

Friday, June 21st: Jathan & Heather

Monday, June 24th: Run Wright

Tuesday, June 25th: @libraryinprogress

Wednesday, June 26th: What is That Book About

Thursday, June 27th: Audio Killed the Bookmark and @beritaudiokilledthebookmark

Friday, June 28th: Novel Gossip and @novelgossip

Monday, July 1st: Amy’s Book-et List

Tuesday, July 2nd: A Chick Who Reads

Wednesday, July 3rd: Books & Bindings

Friday, July 5th: @booktimistic

Monday, July 8th: Bibliotica

Tuesday, July 9th: Romantic Reads and Such

Wednesday, July 10th: Sincerely Karen Jo

Wednesday, July 10th: Broken Teepee

Thursday, July 11th: Why Girls are Weird

Friday, July 12th: View from the Birdhouse

Monday, July 15th: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom

Tuesday, July 16th: Treestand Book Reviews

Wednesday, July 17th: Book Fidelity

Friday, July 19th: Not in Jersey

The post The Summer of Sunshine and Margot by Susan Mallery – #TLCBookTours Excerpt appeared first on Bewitched Bookworms.

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Law and Addiction by Mike Papantonio (Facebook, Twitter)
Series: Law Series #3
Published by Waterside Productions on May 7, 2019
Genres: Adult, Drugs, Alcohol, Substance Abuse, Law & Crime, Legal Thriller, Mystery, Thriller
Pages: 312
Format: eBook
Source: TLC Book Tours
AmazonBook DepositoryGoodreads

I received this book for free from TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


One week before his law school graduation, Jake Rutledge is shattered. His fraternal twin, Blake, has died of a drug overdose. When Jake returns to his hometown of Oakley, West Virginia, he discovers that his brother was not the only person hooked on opioid painkillers. The entire region has been ravaged by an epidemic insidiously planned and carried out by one of America’s most powerful pharmaceutical companies.

Still wet behind the ears, Jake is determined to seek justice for all the victims of Big Pharma’s greed. He soon learns that the drug companies’ tentacles reach far and deep. His only hope is to get Nicholas “Deke” Deketomis to help. A partner at one of the country’s most powerful law firms, Deke’s “as tough as a two-dollar steak” and well-known for his winning tactics against corporate wrongdoers. With just enough persistence, Jake coaxes Deke to see Oakley’s devastation firsthand. Overwhelmed, Deke agrees to join forces with Jake.

And that’s when the real heat begins. Death threats, bribes, unlawful property seizure schemes – all are connected to the massive distribution of both legal and illegal drugs. Everyone is impacted, from the highest levels of corporate America to corrupt local officials to their lackeys and hapless victims. The complexity of the schemes is overwhelming.

Working tirelessly, the lawyers begin to uncover the truth. Along the way, Jake falls in love with Anna Fowler, a former homecoming queen who has succumbed to the power of opioids. With his support, she weans herself off the drugs. Hope begins to bloom ? when suddenly, Jake disappears. As Deke undertakes a desperate search to find him, questions swirl. Has Jake abandoned Anna and his crusade? Can the case against the evildoers move forward without him? Will Oakley and its residents survive? Law and Addiction is real-life drama at its finest ? a book that clears away the darkness page by page, spotlighting a profound truth about our society through expert storytelling.
 

Legal thrillers are a genre I enjoy, especially since my job entails courtroom time of my own. But since I’m in and out quickly as an expert witness, I never get to experience the opening statements, the closing arguments, and the questioning of witnesses other than myself. The opioid crisis has been on the nation’s radar in the last several years, but being on the scientific side of things, I’ve witnessed the surge in legal prescription painkillers a bit earlier. Mike Papantonio, a longtime and prolific trial attorney as well as author of his third novel, Law and Addiction, takes on the escalating diverted prescription drug problem in fiction form with a well-researched, well-documented, and entertaining thriller.

Newly graduated attorney Jake Rutledge loses his twin brother to an opioid overdose. When Jake returns to their small West Virginia hometown, he’s surprised by how economically depressed the town is as well as how many openly addicted people reside there. Jake vows to take on the companies who made it possible for his brother’s easy access to pills to feed an addiction that developed after a construction site injury, and he uses the few contacts that he has to convince a few counties in West Virginia and Ohio to let him bring lawsuits against a pharmaceutical company for willingly selling too many pills to depressed communities. Once successful and knowing that he can’t fight these companies alone, he uses his ambition and wit to join forces with two successful and powerful attorneys who have experience in taking on large corporations, and the uphill battle is just beginning.

As Jake and company’s lawsuits look like they will be successful, some people become very nervous and that spells trouble. Jake isn’t prepared for the distance that some will go to silence him, or for the repercussions it will have on his life and future. Dangerous times are ahead for Jake, but can he move forward without looking back?

I really enjoyed the thrill of trial preparation and the courtroom proceedings themselves. While Jake was a natural in the courtroom, he was still learning the ropes. His more senior co-counsel Nick Deketomis, who’s taken on big tobacco earlier on in his career and won, is smooth, smart, and commanding, and Jake learns a lot from him. While this is the third book that Deke is in, I had no problem getting to know him thanks to the author’s weaving of backstory without being heavy handed about it.

I give Law and Addiction a four out of five. Well-written and realistic, Jake’s story unfolded at a fantastic pace as we follow his life both inside and outside the courtroom: his struggles and victories, his hurts and pain, as well as his hope at finding happiness after the loss of his brother. I had a hard time putting this book down, and I was invested in the well-developed characters-good, bad, and grey–as well as the fast-paced plot and action. This was my first book by Mike Papantonio, and I don’t think this will be my last. You definitely leave the last page having learned something new and thought provoking while having been entertained.

Find LAW AND ADDICTION Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBoundGoodreads About Mike Papantonio

Mike Papantonio is a truth-teller, a crusader who uses fiction to entertain and inform his readers about some of the most pressing issues of our time. In each of his thrillers, from Law And Disorder to Law And Vengeance, and now Law And Addiction, he lays bare the conspiracies and white-collar crimes that hurt ordinary Americans ? and that are rarely covered by the national media.

A senior partner of Levin Papantonio, one of the country’s largest plaintiffs’ law firms, Papantonio uses his own cases as springboards for his novels. He has aggressively taken on Big Pharma, tobacco, weapon manufacturer, and the automobile industry, among other bastions of corporate greed.

One of the youngest inductees into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame, Papantonio is also a well- known media presence as host of America’s Lawyer on the RT America television network and co-host of the syndicated radio show Ring of Fire. A skilled musician and athlete, he is based in Pensacola, Florida.

Connect with him on Twitter and Facebook.

Connect with Mike Papantonio Website | FacebookTwitter | Goodreads
Mike Papantonio’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS for LAW AND ADDICTION:

Monday, May 20th: Ms. Nose in a Book

Wednesday, May 22nd: Jessicamap Reviews

Thursday, May 23rd: Instagram: @theweekendbooker

Monday, May 27th: Bewitched Bookworms

Thursday, May 30th: Patricia’s Wisdom

Friday, May 31st: Book by Book

Monday, June 3rd: Instagram: @readingwithmere

Wednesday, June 5th: Instagram: @libraryinprogress

Thursday, June 6th: Helen’s Book Blog

Tuesday, June 4th: From the TBR Pile

TBD: Tuesday, May 21st: Based on a True Story

TBD: Friday, May 24th: Jenn Blogs Books

The post Law and Addiction by Mike Papantonio – #TLCBookTours Review appeared first on Bewitched Bookworms.

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A Torch In His Heart by Anna Belfrage (Website, Facebook, Twitter)
Published by Troubador Publishing on September 1, 2018
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Historical, Occult & Supernatural, Physical & Emotional Abuse, Reincarnation, Romance
Pages: 394
Format: eBook
Source: TLC Book Tours
AmazonBook DepositoryGoodreads

I received this book for free from TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


In the long lost ancient past, two men fought over the girl with eyes like the Bosporus under a summer sky. It ended badly. She died. They died.

Since then, they have all tumbled through time, reborn over and over again. Now they are all here, in the same place, the same time and what began so long ago must finally come to an end.

Ask Helle Madsen what she thinks about reincarnation and she’ll laugh in your face. Besides, Helle has other stuff to handle, what with her new, exciting job in London and her drop-dead but seriously sinister boss, Sam Woolf. And then one day Jason Morris walks into her life and despite never having clapped eyes on him before, she recognises him immediately. Very weird. Even more weird is the fact that Sam and Jason clearly hate each other’s guts. Helle’s life is about to become extremely complicated and far too exciting…

ADULT CONTENT: This book contains explicit sex scenes

 

I’ve read many fantastic new-to-me authors this year, and I’m happy to add the wonderful Anna Belfrage to the list with her novel A TORCH IN HIS HEART. Mostly set in the present, this novel follows three people who’ve been reincarnating for 3000 years, two men fighting over one woman life after life. Helle is the princess content with her best childhood friend Jason, vowing that she’ll only marry him from the time she’s a child. But she’s forced to marry Prince Sam who has nothing but evil intentions towards her and her father’s kingdom, and everything goes to hell for Jason, Helle, and Sam in that first life.

In the present day, Helle Madsen thinks she’s lucky to land a job working for the sexy yet dangerous Sam Woolf in England, and the creepy vibes begin for her almost immediately. He seems to be focused on her, and not in a good way or because she does good work. Little does she know that the man she’s dreamed about when she was younger lives and works nearby, and he can feel that she’s near. Jason Morris knows that his soulmate–his Helle–is close, and that he must meet her before Sam finds her and eliminates Jason.

I really enjoyed the suspense, the intrigue, and especially the romance. The relationship between Jason and Helle was full of ups and downs, especially since Helle doesn’t outright remember her past lives like Jason does, but they have such great chemistry together that everything smolders on the page. Sam is such a fantastic villain: dark, mysterious, sexy, powerful, and so hell bent on revenge that he knows no bounds to get what he wants. The dangerous game and struggle for power between Jason and Sam grew so tense and times that I was just waiting for it to boil over, and I was sure that there would be collateral damage.

I give A Torch In His Heart a 4.5 out of 5. I was enthralled as Helle, Jason, and Sam’s first life was slowly played out in flashbacks, and as the entire story was revealed, my heart broke for Jason and Helle. There’s plenty of sexy, passionate moments in this book, and those are balanced out with quite a bit of danger, violence, and threats. The supernatural elements add intriguing aspects to the story, and their abilities certainly complicate matters in the present day. I’m so glad that book two is out right now since the book ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, and I just need to know what happens next!

Find  A TORCH IN HIS HEART Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-MillionGoodreads About Anna Belfrage

Had Anna been allowed to choose, she’d have become a professional time-traveller. As such a profession does not exist, she settled for second best and became a financial professional with two absorbing interests, namely history and writing. These days, Anna combines an exciting day-job with a large family and her writing endeavours. Plus she always finds the time to try out new recipes, chase down obscure rose bushes and initiate a home renovation scheme or two.

Her most recent release, A Torch in His Heart, is a step out of her comfort zone. Having previously published historical fiction & historical romance, with this first book about Jason and Helle Anna offers a dark and titillating contemporary romance, complete with a time-slip angle and hot & steamy scenes.

Connect with Anna Belfrage Website | FacebookTwitter | Goodreads
Anna Belfrage’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS for A TORCH IN HIS HEART:
Instagram tour:

Monday, May 13th: @thecityofdarkclockwork

Tuesday, May 14th: @_ebl_inc_

Wednesday, May 15th: @novelgrounds

Friday, May 17th: @nsiabblog

Saturday, May 18th: @sarahandherbookshelves

Saturday, May 18th: @book_hangover88

Date TBD: Thursday, May 16th: @mixed_matched_socks

Date TBD: Sunday, May 19th: @4_the_love_of_books

Review tour:

Thursday, May 16th: Sincerely Karen Jo

Friday, May 17th: Treestand Book Reviews

Monday, May 20th: Stranded in Chaos

Tuesday, May 21st: Becky on Books

Wednesday, May 22nd: The Romance Dish – author guest post

Wednesday, May 22nd: Bewitched Bookworms

Thursday, May 23rd: Lori’s Reading Corner – author guest post

Friday, May 24th: Openly Bookish

Tuesday, May 28th: From the TBR Pile – author guest post

Wednesday, May 29th: Reading a Page Turner

Thursday, May 30th: Book Reviews and More by Kathy – author guest post

Monday, June 3rd: Cheryl’s Book Nook

Date TBD – Wednesday, May 15th: A Fortress of Books

The post A Torch In His Heart by Ann Belfrage – #TLC Book Tours appeared first on Bewitched Bookworms.

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By Invitation Only by Dorothea Benton Frank (Website, Facebook, Twitter)
Published by William Morrow Paperbacks on April 23, 2019 (Reprint Edition)
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Country Life, Family, Friendship, Marriage & Divorce, Southern
Pages: 432
Format: Paperback
Source: TLC Book Tours
AmazonBook DepositoryGoodreads

I received this book for free from TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


The Lowcountry of South Carolina is where By Invitation Only begins at a barbecue engagement party thrown by Diane English Stiftel, her brother Floyd, and her parents to celebrate her son’s engagement. On this gorgeous, magical night, the bride’s father, Alejandro Cambria, a wealthy power broker whose unbelievably successful career in private equity made him one of Chicago’s celebrated elite, discovers the limits and possibilities of cell phone range. While the mother of the bride, Susan Kennedy Cambria, who dabbles in the world of public relations and believes herself deserving of every square inch of her multimillion-dollar penthouse and imaginary carrara marble pedestal, learns about moonshine and dangerous liaisons.

Soon By Invitation Only zooms to Chicago, where the unraveling accelerates. Nearly a thousand miles away from her comfortable, familiar world, Diane is the antithesis of the bright lights and super-sophisticated guests attending her son Fred’s second engagement party. Why a second party? Maybe it had been assumed that the first one wouldn’t be up to snuff? Fred is marrying Shelby Cambria, also an only child. The Cambrias’ dearest wish is for their daughter to be happy. If Shelby wants to marry Frederick, aka Fred, they will not stand in her way—although Susan does hope her friends won’t think her daughter is marrying more than a few degrees beneath her socially. At the same time, Diane worries that her son will be lost to her forever.

By Invitation Only is a tale of two families, one struggling to do well, one well to do, and one young couple—the privileged daughter of Chicago’s crème de la crème and the son of hard -working Southern peach farmers.

Dorothea Benton Frank offers a funny, sharp, and deeply empathetic novel of two very different worlds—of limousines and pickup trucks, caviars and pigs, skyscrapers and ocean spray—filled with a delightful cast of characters who all have something to hide and a lot to learn. A difference in legal opinions, a headlong dive from grace, and an abrupt twist will reveal the truth of who they are and demonstrate, when it truly counts, what kind of grit they have. Are they living the life they want, what regrets do they hold, and how would they remake their lives if they were given the invitation to do so?

By Invitation Only is classic Dorothea Benton Frank—a mesmerizing Lowcountry Tale that roars with spirit, humor, and truth, and forces us to reconsider our notions of what it means to be a Have or a Have Not.
 

Taking a refreshing turn from mysteries and thrillers, I read the charming Southern fiction book, By Invitation Only by new-to-me author Dorothea Benton Frank. After a few chapters, I was enchanted by the South Carolina setting where mother Diane struggles to pull together an engagement party for her only son Fred, who just happens to be marrying a rich Chicago socialite named Shelby. Diane, along with her parents and brother Floyd own a farm where they grow peaches and other vegetables, selling them at a roadside store that has been a staple in their Lowcountry part of South Carolina for decades. But Diane doesn’t think that Shelby’s rich parents will think that they are up to snuff, and when they come down for the engagement party, her assumptions seem to be proven true.

Susan is used to catered dinners, chauffeured cars, and superficial acquaintances, not barbecues thrown together by the soon-to-be groom’s family on their beautiful yet shabby and sprawling farm with loving family and friends in attendance. While she is busy looking down her nose at everyone and trying to hide a budding attraction to Floyd, the father of the bride won’t take his attention off of his phone and his conference calls long enough to get to know anyone. Fred and Shelby only have eyes for each other, so everything is right in their world.

What happens when the mothers of the soon to be wedded are polar opposites and have to help their children plan a wedding together? In this case, Susan tries to throw her muscle around in terms of money, and Diane sticks to her good old Southern principles and stands up for herself and the kids. Both women ultimately have their worlds ripped apart in different ways, and I loved seeing how they dealt with their adversities.

Told through alternating chapters with different characters points of view, I really enjoyed getting several different perspectives on the story as it moved forward. Both Diane and Susan had a hard time navigating the tough time of letting their children move on into the next step of adulthood: married life. The different people around the main characters were very unique and unforgettable. Shelby’s chapters gave a great look at someone who has grown up in a rich family that is a bit cold and dysfunctional discovering that she’s marrying into a very warm, welcoming and loving family that has your back no matter what. She seemed to have the most character growth out of everyone.

Susan was a lot more difficult to unravel and unpack than Diane since she was so guarded, and that made me dislike her a bit more–but I think that was by design. I would have liked to see more dimension out of the son Fred, but ultimately it’s the ladies that shine through as the focus of this story with Diane, Susan, Shelby, and Grandma Vernell.

I give By Invitation Only a five out of five. I loved Diane and her relationship with her mother and brother. Their farm and loyalty to family were second to none.  The writing was smooth and flowed seamlessly from chapter to chapter, with distinct voices for each narrator. It was easy to tell who was speaking in each chapter. This is a great, fun, summer read, even though a good part of it takes place up here in snowy winter Chicago. I’m definitely a fan of Dorothea Benton Frank now.

Find BY INVITATION ONLY Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-MillionGoodreads About Dorothea Benton Frank

New York Times bestselling author Dorothea Benton Frank was born and raised on Sullivans Island, South Carolina. She resides in the New York area with her husband.

Find her on the web at www.dotfrank.com, or like her on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram.

Connect with Dorothea Benton Frank Website | FacebookTwitter | InstagramGoodreads
Dorothea Benton Frank’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS for BY INVITATION ONLY:
Instagram Features

Wednesday, April 24th: Instagram: @hollyslittlebookreviews

Thursday, April 25th: Instagram: @jennblogsbooks

Sunday, April 28th: Instagram: @readingwithmere

Monday, April 29th: Instagram: @beritaudiokilledthebookmark

Monday, April 29th: Instagram: @jackiereadsbooks

Wednesday, May 1st: Instagram: @lifebetweenwords

Friday, May 3rd: Instagram: @simplykelina

Saturday, May 4th: Instagram: @downtogetthefictionon

Review Stops

Monday, April 29th: Write – Read – Life

Tuesday, April 30th: Instagram: @jennastopreading

Wednesday, May 1st: Booked J

Thursday, May 2nd: Bewitched Bookworms

Friday, May 3rd: View from the Birdhouse

Sunday, May 5th: Books and Bindings

Monday, May 6th: Eliot’s Eats

Tuesday, May 7th: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom

Wednesday, May 8th: Wining Wife

Thursday, May 9th: A Bookish Way of Life

Sunday, May 12th: Instagram: @shelovesthepages

Monday, May 13th: Book by Book

Tuesday, May 14th: Patricia’s Wisdom

Wednesday, May 15th: Into the Hall of Books

Thursday, May 16th: Jennifer ~ Tar Heel Reader

Friday, May 17th: Bibliotica

Friday, May 17th: Novel Gossip

The post By Invitation Only by Dorothea Benton Frank – #TLCBookTours Review appeared first on Bewitched Bookworms.

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I’ve got a real treat for you today: the cover reveal of Helena Hunting’s upcoming stand alone installment in the Shacking Up series.  How can you resist such a spectacular cover? I really love Helena Hunting’s writing, and I hope you do too!

About MAKING UP
  • Pages: 304
  • Publisher: St. Martin’s Press (July 16, 2019)
A new standalone, laugh-out-loud romantic comedy by New York Times bestselling author Helena Hunting.

Cosy Felton is great at her job—she knows just how to handle the awkwardness that comes with working at an adult toy store. So when the hottest guy she’s ever seen walks into the shop looking completely overwhelmed, she’s more than happy to turn on the charm and help him purchase all of the items on his list.

Griffin Mills is using his business trip in Las Vegas as a chance to escape the broken pieces of his life in New York City. The last thing he wants is to be put in charge of buying gag gifts for his friend’s bachelor party. Despite being totally out of his element, and mortified by the whole experience, Griffin is pleasantly surprised when he finds himself attracted to the sales girl that helped him.

As skeptical as Cosy may be of Griffin’s motivations, there’s something about him that intrigues her. But sometimes what happens in Vegas doesn’t always stay in Vegas and when real life gets in the way, all bets are off. Filled with hilariously awkward situations and enough sexual chemistry to power Sin City, Making Up is the next standalone in the Shacking Up world. Find MAKING UP Barnes and Noble | eBooks.com| Google Play | iBooksKoboGoodreads About Helena Hunting

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of PUCKED, Helena Hunting lives on the outskirts of Toronto with her incredibly tolerant family and two moderately intolerant cats. She’s writes contemporary romance ranging from new adult angst to romantic sports comedy.

Connect with Helena Hunting Website | Facebook | Twitter | InstagramGoodreads

The post Cover Reveal – Making Up by Helena Hunting appeared first on Bewitched Bookworms.

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Before She Was Found by Heather Gudenkauf (Website, Facebook, Twitter)
Published by Park Row on April 16, 2019
Genres: Adult, Bullying, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
Pages: 368
Format: eBook
Source: TLC Book Tours
AmazonBook DepositoryGoodreads

I received this book for free from TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


A gripping thriller about three young girlfriends, a dark obsession and a chilling crime that shakes up a quiet Iowa town

For twelve-year-old Cora Landry and her friends Violet and Jordyn, it was supposed to be an ordinary sleepover—movies and Ouija and talking about boys. But when they decide to sneak out to go to the abandoned rail yard on the outskirts of town, little do they know that their innocent games will have dangerous consequences.

Later that night, Cora Landry is discovered on the tracks, bloody and clinging to life, her friends nowhere to be found. Soon their small rural town is thrust into a maelstrom. Who would want to hurt a young girl like Cora—and why? In an investigation that leaves no stone unturned, everyone is a suspect and no one can be trusted—not even those closest to Cora.

Before She Was Found is a timely and gripping thriller about friendship and betrayal, about the power of social pressure and the price of needing to fit in. It is about the great lengths a parent will go to protect their child and keep them safe—even if that means burying the truth, no matter the cost.
 

I’m always on the lookout for a good mystery or thriller, and I’ve heard good things about author Heather Gudenkauf from former Bewitched Bookworm Kristen in the past. When this author’s latest book, Before She Was Found came along on tour, I couldn’t pass up the chance to find out what Kristen loved so much about her writing. The story of three twelve-year-old girls who go to an abandoned train depot in the middle of the night–and only two of them return unscathed–had me interested from the first pages. Told in several different points of view and through one of the girls’ journals as well as text messages and online chat room discussions between various characters, Before She Was Found really captured the social dynamics at play today–between families, adolescents, as well as perfect strangers that are thrown together when tragedy strikes.

Cora is a quiet, shy girl with no real friends, but when Violet moves to town, they quickly form a friendship. But a popular girl has taken an interest in Violet as well, and Cora’s daily life at school turns from looking up to taking a turn for the worst. Having been picked on and bullied by resident troubled mean girl Jordyn, Cora is surprised when Jordyn takes an interest in her–and not just in torturing her–after the three of them have been assigned to work together on a project for class. Since they have to research and present an urban legend, Jordyn pushes her original project of their local bogey man on the two girls, and Cora’s fascination with this supposed ghost that can take you away from this small town life grows to disturbing proportions. But when the three of them go to the rail yard and Cora is stabbed and nearly beaten to death, no one is talking about what happened that night.

What follows the crime is an investigation that threatens to tear families apart, threaten someone’s job, and give the local small town police force a run for their money. The girls aren’t talking and it’s putting pressure on their parents or guardians, with Cora needing surgery and extensive treatment, Violet showing extreme fear and flightiness, and Jordyn covering her mean-girl tracks any way that she can. The suffocating small town atmosphere only makes things more intense as everything spins out of control before it comes into focus in the end.

I give Before She Was Found a four out of five. I love unreliable narrators, and this book was full of them. You never knew who or exactly what to believe, and I had so much fun trying to pick the threads of truth from the lies. The ending had me a bit stumped, and I was quite surprised when the big reveal hit. I love it when a book is a bit harder to figure out. The bouncing back and forth between different times was hard to follow when reading on Kindle though, so it was a bit confusing as well as the multiple characters in the beginning until you get to know everyone. Heather Gudenkauf is an author that I will be on the lookout from now on since I really did enjoy how the story was woven together. I’m a sucker for small town Midwestern settings since they remind me of why I moved to the Chicago suburbs and will never move back!

Find BEFORE SHE WAS FOUND Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-MillionGoodreads About Heather Gudenkauf

Heather Gudenkauf is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Weight of Silence and Not a Sound.  Heather lives in Iowa with her family.

Connect with Heather Gudenkauf Website | FacebookTwitter | InstagramGoodreads
Heather Gudenkauf’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS for BEFORE SHE WAS FOUND:
Excerpts:

Monday, April 1st: The Lit Bitch

Tuesday, April 2nd: Lindsey Reads and Reviews

Wednesday, April 3rd: Jessicamap Reviews

Thursday, April 4th: Amy’s Book-et List

Friday, April 5th: Books & Spoons

Monday, April 8th: Book Reviews and More by Kathy

Tuesday, April 9th: What is That Book About

Wednesday, April 10th: Bookish Connoisseur

Thursday, April 11th: Thoughts on This ‘n That

Friday, April 12th: Lori’s Reading Corner

Instagram:

Monday, April 15th: @theunreadshelf

Monday, April 15th: @wherethereadergrows

Tuesday, April 16th: @bookstackedblonde

Tuesday, April 16th: @tarheelreaders

Wednesday, April 17th: @bookclubwithbite

Thursday, April 18th: @readingbetweenthe_wines

Thursday, April 18th: @ashareads

Friday, April 19th: @shereadswithcats

Saturday, April 20th: @readingwithmere

Sunday, April 21st: @love_my_dane_dolly_

Reviews:

Monday, April 15th: Where the Reader Grows

Tuesday, April 16th: Tar Heel Readers

Thursday, April 18th: Asha Reads

Friday, April 19th: From the TBR Pile

Monday, April 22nd: Palmer’s Page Turners

Monday, April 22nd: @basicbsguide

Monday, April 22nd: Thoughts from a Highly Caffeinated Mind

Tuesday, April 23rd: Book Reviews and More by Kathy

Thursday, April 25th: Bewitched Bookworms

Friday, April 26th: Helen’s Book Blog

Monday, April 29th: Amy’s Book-et List

Tuesday, April 30th: Jessicamap Reviews and @jessicamap

Wednesday, May 1st: @downtogetthefictionon

Wednesday, May 1st: Jathan & Heather

Thursday, May 2nd: Books & Bindings

Friday, May 3rd: @bookishconnoisseur

Monday, May 6th: Thoughts on This ‘n That

Monday, May 6th: @booktimistic and Booktimistic

Tuesday, May 7th: Novel Gossip and @novelgossip

Wednesday, May 8th: Book by Book

Wednesday, May 8th: @wordsinpages

Thursday, May 9th: Kahakai Kitchen

Friday, May 10th: Girl Who Reads

Monday, May 13th: Audio Killed the Bookmark and @beritaudiokilledthebookmark

TBD: Wednesday, April 17th: Sweet Southern Home

The post Before She Was Found by Heather Gudenkauf – #TLCBookTours Review appeared first on Bewitched Bookworms.

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What She Gave Away by Catharine Riggs (Website, Twitter)
Series: Santa Barbara Suspense #1
Published by Thomas & Mercer on September 4, 2018
Genres: Adoption, Adult, Adultery, Contemporary, Murder, Psychological Thriller, Thriller
Pages: 348
Format: Paperback
Source: TLC Book Tours
AmazonBook DepositoryGoodreads

I received this book for free from TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


Revenge is anything but sweet in this twisty thriller about two women with very different lives locked in the same deadly game.

Imagining the best way to destroy a person’s happiness is Crystal Love’s favorite game. Devious and unpolished, the plus-sized loan analyst couldn’t be more out of place in her new town of Santa Barbara, where the beautifully manicured women never age and the ocean views stretch farther than the million-dollar lawns. And yet her eye for the power dynamics at play in this tony community is dead accurate.

Kathi Wright, on the other hand, has made it her life’s work to fit in with the plastic people who surround her. But when her husband—a wealthy bank president—dies suddenly, she’s left with nothing. Then the FBI shows up, asking questions she can’t answer and freezing assets she once took for granted.

While Kathi struggles to outrun the mess caused by her husband’s mysterious death, Crystal seems focused on her game. But why? And who are her targets?

Spanning two years and told in Crystal’s and Kathi’s alternating voices, this tautly plotted novel reveals the power of choice and the price of revenge.
 

Moving right along with my streak of completely unlikable and unsympathetic characters headlining novels, I’ve moved on to the fantastically dark and devious debut What She Gave Away by Catharine Riggs. Featuring two timelines and two first person points of view with female protagonists that are polar opposites, I highly enjoyed the manipulations and resulting devastation. Catharine Riggs ultimately explores whether or not your past will catch up with you–and if will it be your undoing.

Kathi Wright has been a privileged wife controlled by her bank president husband since they were both in college. Living in the exclusive, expensive Montecito neighborhood, she thought that they had a perfect marriage–until her husband was ran over by a train. Officially deemed a suicide, she’d been living in a daze of wine and depression ever since. And then the FBI seizes her husband’s assets, and it turns out he’d been under investigation before he’d died for fraud. Kathi’s entire life is in shambles, with no money and so-called friends disappearing by the second. She has such a large and trusting heart that she’s easily manipulated. Add in the large quantities of booze that she’s ingesting, and she’s a walking disaster as she tries to survive in a lifestyle that’s foreign to her.

Crystal Love is a loan analyst at Kathi’s husband’s bank, and she has a lifetime of hurt and humiliation fueling her every move. Being on the plus size with no family or friends, she likes to interfere with those around her who slight her–and she hurts them back in the most devious and painful ways possible while she stays anonymous. When she sniffs out corruption at the highest levels of the bank, she can’t help but get involved to get her revenge, and she has no idea that it will go so far that she will walk right into danger herself.

I was finishing this book up during my son’s Taekwondo sparring class, and one of the instructors asked “So, what did she give away?” I was able to answer this 20-year-old’s question rather succinctly since I was finished, realizing what the act was that spawned the title. I really loved that I didn’t know this throughout the majority of the book. It made everything so much more suspenseful and intriguing.

I give What She Gave Away a 4.5 out of 5. I had a hard time putting this book down as I waited for Crystal’s past timeline to meet up with Kathi’s current timeline, and I knew that it was going to be explosive when theymet. The diverse Santa Barbara settings were rich and vibrantly painted, from the tony neighborhood that Kathi occupied to the less-ritzy area that Crystal lived in. The pacing was great, with the alternating chapters/timelines hooking me and keeping me interesting to see where things were intersecting. The two main characters were not the most likable or relatable, but they were interesting in a hot mess sort of way. The writing flowed nicely, and I simply enjoyed the author’s style.

Find WHAT SHE GAVE AWAY Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indie BoundGoodreads About Catharine Riggs

Catharine Riggs lives and writes on California’s central coast. Before turning to writing fiction, Riggs worked as a business banker, an adjunct college instructor, and a nonprofit executive. What She Never Said is the second novel in her Santa Barbara Suspense series. The first, What She Gave Away, was published by Thomas & Mercer in September of 2018. Riggs is a member of the International Thriller Writers, The Authors Guild, Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America.

Find out more about Catharine at her website, and connect with her on Twitter and Instagram.

Connect with Catharine Riggs Website | Twitter | InstagramGoodreads
Catharine Riggs’ TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS for WHAT SHE GAVE AWAY:

Monday, March 18th: Booked J

Tuesday, March 19th: Instagram: @kmc_reads

Wednesday, March 20th: The Desert Bibliophile

Thursday, March 21st: Stranded in Chaos

Friday, March 22nd: A Chick Who Reads

Monday, March 25th: Bewitched Bookworms

Monday, March 25th: Instagram: @downtogetthefictionon

Tuesday, March 26th: Instagram: @Novelmombooks

Wednesday, March 27th: Wining Wife

Thursday, March 28th: Instagram: @fortheloveofbooks85

Friday, March 29th: Ms. Nose in a Book

Monday, April 1st: BoundbyWords

Tuesday, April 2nd: Instagram: @readingwithmere

The post What She Gave Away by Catharaine Riggs – #TLCBookTours Review appeared first on Bewitched Bookworms.

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California Girls by Susan Mallery (Website, Facebook, Twitter)
Published by MIRA on February 26, 2019
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Contemporary Women, Family, Friendship
Pages: 432
Format: eBook
Source: TLC Book Tours
AmazonBook DepositoryGoodreads

I received this book for free from TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


The California sunshine’s not quite so bright for three sisters who get dumped in the same week…

Finola, a popular LA morning show host, is famously upbeat until she’s blindsided on live TV by news that her husband is sleeping with a young pop sensation who has set their affair to music. While avoiding the tabloids and pretending she’s just fine, she’s crumbling inside, desperate for him to come to his senses and for life to go back to normal.

Zennie’s breakup is no big loss. Although the world insists she pair up, she’d rather be surfing. So agreeing to be the surrogate for her best friend is a no-brainer—after all, she has an available womb and no other attachments to worry about. Except…when everyone else, including her big sister, thinks she’s making a huge mistake, being pregnant is a lot lonelier—and more complicated—than she imagined.

Never the tallest, thinnest or prettiest sister, Ali is used to being overlooked, but when her fiancé sends his disapproving brother to call off the wedding, it’s a new low. And yet Daniel continues to turn up “for support,” making Ali wonder if maybe—for once—someone sees her in a way no one ever has.

But side by side by side, these sisters will start over and rebuild their lives with all the affection, charm and laugh-out-loud humor that is classic Susan Mallery.

 

Susan Mallery continues to write books that draw me in from page one, making me instantly feel at home in the world and with the characters she’s created. Her latest stand alone novel, California Girls, is no exception, and I dove right in and devoured the lives of three sisters who were all dumped in the same week. After reading several heavy psychological suspense and thrillers lately, this novel was just what I needed to lighten my reading palette. While California Girls deals with adultery, broken engagements, family conflicts, and personal and professional crises, Susan Mallery writes with such hope that these things are not insurmountable, and it is very enjoyable reading as the characters work things out for the ultimate better.

The three sisters couldn’t be more different or at different stages of their lives. Finola is the oldest and has been settled in her local television morning show host job for a while, and she’s settled in her marriage to a devoted plastic surgeon. But then she’s blindsided by her husband’s infidelity with a young pop star, and she’s left devastated and unsure of herself. Middle sister Zennie is an athletic OR nurse who is committed to her job and doesn’t see the point of being tied down to anyone. She just isn’t feeling it with the zookeeper she’s been seeing, and when Clark calls it off with her, Zennie isn’t that disappointed. Meek Ali is the youngest and is busy planning her wedding to demanding Glenn, but leaves bad-boy brother Daniel to call the wedding off for him. Leaving Ali devastated and wondering what went wrong, surprisingly friendly and supportive Daniel helps Ali pick up the pieces and cancel all of the wedding plans.

Finola’s convinced that she’s the sole victim in her marriage’s demise, and it takes a lot of work and soul searching to see what could have gone wrong in her privileged, uptight life. Moving back in with your equally judgmental and demanding mother sure gives you a different outlook on life, especially when you are going through a divorce to someone who was so outwardly perfect in everyone’s eyes.

Zennie has agreed to be her best friend’s surrogate by donating an egg and carrying the baby, and she’s now found that some of her friends and family do not support this selfless decision she’s made to help her friend. With her relationships tested as well as her life being turned upside with a pregnancy, Zennie isn’t sure that she can make it through to the end–but she must and she will prevail.

Ali is used to being overlooked–both at home and at work. But Daniel is different, and with his friendship she blossoms. She’s able to come out of her shell and become the person that has always been lurking in the shadows of her sisters, and she’s never felt better–once she realizes that she doesn’t care what anyone thinks.

I give California Girls a 4.5 out of 5.  I really loved how each woman dealt with their losses and grew from their experiences, all while growing closer together as a family. The sisters’ mother was a bit one-note with the grandchildren talk for most of the novel, which was repetitive and annoying, and I wish we could have seen more of the younger two sisters’ father in the flesh. This was a classic Susan Mallery novel, and I didn’t want to put it down since I just had to know what was happening next. Full of friendship, hard work, family ties, and love, California Girls is a great novel from start to finish.

Find CALIFORNIA GIRLS Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads 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.

Connect with Susan Mallery Website | Facebook | Twitter | InstagramGoodreads
Susan Mallery’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS for CALIFORNIA GIRLS:
Excerpt Tour:

Monday, February 11th: Bewitched Bookworms

Tuesday, February 12th: Tar Heel Reader

Wednesday, February 13th: Palmer’s Page Turners

Thursday, February 14th: Books & Spoons

Friday, February 15th: Cheryl’s Book Nook

Monday, February 18th: From the TBR Pile

Tuesday, February 19th: Rad Babes Read

Wednesday, February 20th: Reading Reality

Thursday, February 21st: Book Reviews and More by Kathy

Friday, February 22nd: Thoughts on This ‘n That

Review Tour:

Monday, February 25th: Reading Reality

Monday, February 25th: Book Reviews and More by Kathy

Monday, February 25th: @booknerdingout

Tuesday, February 26th: The Book Date

Wednesday, February 27th: Palmer’s Page Turners

Friday, March 1st: Books & Bindings

Friday, March 1st: Not in Jersey

Monday, March 4th: Bewitched Bookworms

Monday, March 4th: Patricia’s Wisdom

Tuesday, March 5th: Odd and Bookish and @oddandbookish

Wednesday, March 6th: Bookchickdi

Thursday, March 7th: Running Through the Storms

Thursday, March 7th: Why Girls Are Weird

Friday, March 8th: View from the Birdhouse

Monday, March 11th: The Romance Dish

Monday, March 11th: Tar Heel Reader and @tarheelreader

Tuesday, March 12th: Girl Who Reads

Wednesday, March 13th: Kahakai Kitchen

Wednesday, March 13th: Romantic Reads and Such

Thursday, March 14th: Moonlight Rendezvous

Thursday, March 14th: Cheryl’s Book Nook

Friday, March 15th: Mrs. Mommy Booknerd

Monday, March 18th: Jathan & Heather

Monday, March 18th: Rad Babes Read and @radbabesread

Tuesday, March 19th: Thoughts on This ‘n That

Wednesday, March 20th: From the TBR Pile

Wednesday, March 20th: A Splendid Messy Life

Thursday, March 21st: Broken Teepee

Friday, March 22nd: Girls in Books and @girlsinbooks

Monday, March 25th: Eliot’s Eats

Tuesday, March 26th: A Chick Who Reads

Wednesday, March 27th: Into the Hall of Books

Thursday, March 28th: A Holland Reads

Friday, March 29th: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom

Friday, March 29th: What is That Book About

The post California Girls by Susan Mallery – #TLCBookTours Review appeared first on Bewitched Bookworms.

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