Book Reviews · Fiction · HistoricalFiction · WomensFiction

Book review: ‘Reviving the Hawthorn Sisters’ by Emily Carpenter (pub 10/20)

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Thank you @amazonpublishing #lakeunionpublishing for my gift copy of ‘Reviving the Hawthorn Sisters‘ by Emily Carpenter! (pub 10/20)

The bestselling author of ‘Burying the Honeysuckle Girls‘, ‘Every Single Secret‘, ‘The Weight of Lies‘ & ‘Until the Day I Die‘ returns to uncover a faith healer’s elusive & haunted past.

‘There are things known & unknown, & in between are the doors.“- Althea Cheramie, friend of Dove.

Dove Jarrod was a renowned evangelist & faith healer. Only her granddaughter, Eve Candler, knows that Dove was a con artist. In the 8 yrs since Dove’s death, Eve has maintained Dove’s charitable foundation—& her lies. But just as a documentary team wraps up a shoot about the miracle worker, Eve is assaulted by a vengeful stranger intent on exposing what could be Dove’s darkest secret: murder.

Tuscaloosa, 1934: a wily young orphan escapes the psychiatric hospital where she was born. When she joins the itinerant inspirational duo the Hawthorn Sisters, the road ahead is one of stirring new possibilities. And w/ an obsessive predator on her trail, one of untold dangers. For a young girl to survive, desperate choices must be made. 

Now: to protect her family, Eve will join forces w/ the investigative filmmaker & one of Dove’s friends, risking everything to unravel the truth behind the accusations against her grandmother. But will the truth set her free or set her world on fire?

This book continues the story line from Carpenter’s debut novel, ‘Burying the Honeysuckle Girls‘, but it’s not really a sequel. I have not read that 2016 debut, but I really want to now. I never really felt lost while reading ‘Reviving…’ & it can definitely be read as a stand alone novel. The story draws you in from the very first pages & holds your attention w/ Carpenter’s masterful writing, taunt plotting, & compelling characters.

Reviving the Hawthorn Sisters‘ is a beautiful blend of southern gothic, historical fiction, suspense/mystery & some magical realism. Told as Dove’s story from the past & Eve’s present day, this atmospheric, slow-burning mystery would make a fantastic addition to any readers fall tbr stack. I’m certainly going to read more of Emily’s other novels.

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Emily Carpenter is the bestselling author of four thrillers: Until the Day I Die, Every Single SecretThe Weight of Lies, and Burying the Honeysuckle Girls. A graduate of Auburn University, Emily has worked as an actor, producer, screenwriter, and behind-the-scenes soap opera assistant for CBS television. Raised in Birmingham, Alabama, she moved to New York City before returning to the South, where she now lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her family. Visit Emily at http://www.emilycarpenterauthor.com.

Book Reviews · Fiction · HistoricalFiction · OwnVoices · Thriller

Happy Belated Pub Day and Book Review of: ‘When No One is Watching’ by Alyssa Cole

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Happy Belated Pub Day & Thank you @williammorrowbooks for my gifted copy [partner] of ‘When No One is Watching‘ by Alyssa Cole! (pub 9/1)

Q: What was the last thriller you read that taught you about something you otherwise didn’t know much about?

‘Rear Window’ meets ‘Get Out’ in this gripping thriller from a critically acclaimed & NY Times Notable author, in which the gentrification of a Brooklyn neighborhood takes on a sinister new meaning…

Sydney Green is Brooklyn born & raised, but her beloved neighborhood seems to change every time she blinks. Condos are sprouting like weeds, FOR SALE signs are popping up overnight, & the neighbors she’s known all her life are disappearing. To hold onto her community’s past & present, Sydney channels her frustration into a walking tour & finds an unlikely & unwanted assistant in one of the new arrivals to the block—her neighbor Theo.

But Sydney & Theo’s deep dive into history quickly becomes a dizzying descent into paranoia & fear. Their neighbors may not have moved to the suburbs after all, & the push to revitalize the community may be more deadly than advertised.

When does coincidence become conspiracy? Where do people go when gentrification pushes them out? Can Sydney & Theo trust each other—or themselves—long enough to find out before they too disappear?

Cole has pivoted from writing romance novels to bring us one heck of an amazing suspense/thriller that is so much more than just an entertaining read. The first line of the book says it all: “History is f–king wild.”

Gentrification: the process of renovating or improving a house or district so that it conforms to middle-class taste. (Problem w/ this is property values increase thereby increasing cost of living in that area, while affordable housing decreases & lower income residents are displaced.)

Unflinchingly well-crafted w/ knowledge & insight, Cole gives readers a much needed history lesson on the aftermath of this process, having lived in neighborhoods like this in the past. With a keen sense of atmosphere, richly drawn narrative & characters, ‘When No One is Watching‘ is clever, riveting, eye-opening & twisty. Highly recommend!

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Alyssa Cole is an award-winning author of historical, contemporary, & sci-fi romance. Her romantic comedy A PRINCESS IN THEORY is a NY Times notable book for 2018. Her Civil War-set espionage romance AN EXTRAORDINARY UNION was the American Library Association’s RUSA Best Romance for 2018, & also the RT Book Reviews Reviewer’s Choice Award Book of the Year. She’s contributed to publications including Bustle, Shondaland, The Toast, Vulture, & others, & her books have received critical acclaim from The NY Times, Library Journal, Kirkus, Booklist, Jezebel, Vulture, Book Riot, Entertainment Weekly, & various other outlets. When she’s not working, she can generally be found watching anime w/ her husband or wrangling their menagerie of animals.

Book Reviews · Fiction · Thriller

Book Review and Feature: ‘Little Deadly Secrets’ by Pamela Crane

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Thank you @williammorrowbooks for my gifted copy of ‘Little Deadly Secrets‘ by Pamela Crane! (pub 8/18)

From USA Today bestselling author Pamela Crane comes an addictively readable domestic suspense novel!

Mackenzie, Robin, & Lily have been inseparable forever, sharing life’s ups & downs & growing even closer as the years have gone by. They know everything about each other. Or so they believe.

Nothing could come between these three best friends…
Except for a betrayal.

Nothing could turn them against each other…
Except for a terrible past mistake.

Nothing could tear them apart…
Except for murder.

This is my first Pamela Crane novel & it definitely will not be my last! ‘Little Deadly Secrets‘ is a twisty, perfectly paced, all-consuming & unputdownable domestic suspense/thriller that you will probably read in one sitting. I had to pry myself away from it a couple nights ago so I could get a few hours of sleep. (And then when I did get to bed, the book was all I could think about & look forward to getting back to over coffee in the morning!)

The book kind of gave me ‘Pretty Little Liars‘ (the later years) meets ‘Big Little Lies‘. Literally everyone in this book has some major secrets & wowsa…some of them are explosive ones! This book grabs you from the first few pages & does not disappoint. ‘Little Deadly Secrets‘ is chock full of all the lies, deception, secrets, betrayal & revenge that readers look for in this genre. It’s utterly mind-blowing & will surface mixed emotions as you read it. Highly recommend this one!

PS, tonight is the last day to enter the 2-book giveaway on Instagram (click HERE to go that post.) Also, be sure to enter yesterday’s Murderino Monday True Crime giveaway also on Instagram (click HERE to go that post) & there are even MORE coming soon!

What others are saying about ‘Little Deadly Secrets‘:

“Crane succeeds at painting families and friendships in vivid detail; women will see their tussles and triumphs in these pages, and will relish the twists and moments of brave camaraderie and bold revenge… A satisfying read that has echoes of Liane Moriarty and of Emily Giffin’s All We Ever Wanted.” – Booklist

“Pamela Crane’s anthem to female friendship and the empowerment of women proves one thing. Friends will do anything for each other…including lie, cheat in bed, and kill. Crane’s deft treatment of this theme makes the besties in Little Deadly Secrets friends you’d want as your own…despite the fizzy cocktail of secrecy, betrayal, and deception they pour on every page. This novel is a read for our tumultuous times.” – Jenny Milchman, Mary Higgins Clark award-winning author of Cover of Snow and The Second Mother

Little Deadly Secrets has one of the most chilling opening scenes I’ve ever read, and the tension keeps right on building. My advice: don’t read this book…unless you’re prepared not to put it down until you’re finished!” – New York Times Bestselling Author Wendy Corsi Staub

 “I loved it!  It’s so well written, with sharply observed characters and the kind of fast-paced, twisty plot that keeps you turning the pages…” – Sunday Times and international bestselling author Debbie Howells

“There is always great depth to Pamela’s writing and this is no exception. Amidst a cleverly constructed psychological thriller that pulls you along from one page to the next, we are treated to the deconstruction of a friendship between Robin, Mackenzie and Lily. It’s sad, infuriating but fascinating too. Once Pamela has pulled it all together, and the pieces fit into place you are left with a brilliantly told tale, a mystery is solved, and justice is served but what of the friendship…? You’ll have to read it to find out but I promise, you won’t be disappointed.” – bestselling author Patricia Dixon

PAMELA CRANE is a professional juggler. Not one who can toss flaming torches in the air (though how cool would that be?), but a juggler of four kids, a writing addiction, a horse rescuer, & a book editor by trade. She lives on the edge (ask her Arabian horse about that—he’ll tell you all about their wild adventures while trying to train him) & she writes on the edge…where her sanity resides. Her USA Today best-selling Mental Mommy books unravel flawed women—some she knows, some she creates—& they aren’t always pretty. In fact, her characters are rarely pretty, which makes them interesting…& perfect for doing crazy things worth writing about. When she’s not cleaning horse stalls or changing diapers, she’s psychoanalyzing others.
Visit her at:
http://www.pamelacrane.com
http://www.facebook.com/Author.Pamela.Crane/
http://www.instagram.com/author.pamela.crane/

Book Reviews · CrimeThriller · Fiction · Thriller

Book Review: ‘The Nothing Man’ by Catherine Ryan Howard

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Thank you @blackstonepublishing for my gift copy of ‘The Nothing Man‘ (pub 8/4) by Catherine Ryan Howard & for all of the other fantastic books in this stack! (Reviews to come individually.)

At the age of 12, Eve Black was the only member of her family to survive an encounter with serial attacker the Nothing Man. Now an adult, she is obsessed with identifying the man who destroyed her life.

Supermarket security guard Jim Doyle has just started reading The Nothing Man–the true-crime memoir Eve has written about her efforts to track down her family’s killer. As he turns each page, his rage grows. Because Jim’s not just interested in reading about the Nothing Man. He IS the Nothing Man.

Jim soon beings to realize how dangerously close Eve is getting to the truth. He knows she won’t give up until she finds him. He has no choice but to stop her first…

First off, don’t confuse Catherine Ryan HOWARD for Catherine Ryan HYDE like I initially did! I have read several books by C.R.Hyde in the past, so when I started reading ‘The Nothing Man’ by C.R. Howard, I was like “WHOA! Her writing went to the Dark Side like Anakin Skywalker!”

I positively loved ‘The Nothing Man‘ & it wasn’t until I sat down to write my review that I realized my mistaken identity of the author. Oopsie! Regardless of my brain faux pas, you guys, THIS. BOOK. IS. AMAZING!!

Since you know right off the bat who the killer is, you won’t overthink every little detail trying to figure out whodunnit. And going back & forth between the POV of Eve Black & Jim Doyle (aka: The Nothing Man), put the story on a whole other level of creepiness & made the reading experience even more satisfying. I couldn’t put it down & was hooked from the get go.

The Nothing Man‘ is absolutely gripping, expertly crafted, perfectly paced, & utterly bone chilling. As a fan of true crime books, docu’s, podcasts & a card carrying member of the Murderino community, this is exactly the kind of suspenseful, crime fiction, thriller I get goosebumps just thinking about because it’s just so freakin’ fantastic!

Click HERE to add ‘The Nothing Man’ to your Goodreads tbr list.
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What others are saying about ‘The Nothing Man’:

‘Fiendishly clever…Howard uses serial killer tropes in original and surprising ways in this tour de force.” —Publisher Weekly (starred review)

”Gripping, beautifully written, and genuinely chilling, The Nothing Man had me from page one. Simply stellar.” —Meg Gardiner, Edgar Award-winning author of The Dark Corners of the Night

The Nothing Man is the most original and chilling thriller I’ve read in a long time, and is perfect for fans of Serial and The Fall.” —Mark Edwards, bestselling author of The House Guest

”Expertly crafted — storytelling at its best.” —Patricia Gibney, bestselling author of The Missing Ones

”A book to steal your waking hours and haunt your sleeping ones. Chilling and brilliant.” —Cass Green, award-winning author of In a Cottage in a Wood

”The queen of high-concept crime fiction strikes again: this is the first novel I’ve read that really captures the chills and twists of the true crime that obsesses us. Catherine Ryan Howard has always been thrillingly good at what she does but she’s just getting better and better with every book.” —Jane Casey, author of the Maeve Kerrigan novels

”I was truly blown away and couldn’t read it fast enough. I can’t shower it with enough praise. Terrifying, brilliantly plotted, and extremely satisfying.” —Jo Spain, bestselling author of With Our Blessing

”Whip-smart, thrilling, and utterly compelling.” —Liz Nugent, bestselling author of Lying in Wait

”Utterly compelling, completely original, The Nothing Man will be the standout novel for 2020. This is a book you won’t forget as Catherine Ryan Howard brings crime writing to a new level.” —Sam Blake, bestselling author of Little Bones

Catherine Ryan Howard was born in Cork, Ireland. Her debut thriller, Distress Signals, was an Irish Times and USA Today bestseller and was short-listed for the Crime Writers’ Association John Creasey New Blood Dagger and the Irish Crime Novel of the Year. Her second novel, The Liar’s Girl, was a finalist for the 2019 Edgar Award for Best Novel. She lives in Dublin.

Book Reviews · Fiction · MurderinoMonday · Paranormal · Thriller

Book Review for ‘The Hollow Ones’ by Guillermo Del Toro/Chuck Hogan

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Thank you @grandcentralpub for my gifted copy of ‘The Hollow Ones‘ by Guillermo Del Toro & Chuck Hogan! (pub 8/4).

From the authors who brought you ‘The Strain‘ Trilogy comes a strange, terrifying, & darkly wondrous world of suspense, mystery, & literary horror. ‘The Hollow Ones is a chilling, hauntingly original new fable from Academy Award-winning director Guillermo del Toro & bestselling author Chuck Hogan featuring their most fascinating character yet.

A horrific crime that defies explanation, a rookie FBI agent in uncharted territory, & an extraordinary hero for the ages: an investigation spirals out of control in this heart-pounding thriller.

Odessa Hardwicke’s life is derailed when she’s forced to turn her gun on her partner, Walt Leppo, a decorated FBI agent who turns suddenly, inexplicably violent while apprehending a rampaging murderer. The shooting, justified by self-defense, shakes the young FBI agent to her core. Devastated, Odessa is placed on desk leave pending a full investigation. But what most troubles Odessa isn’t the tragedy itself — it’s the shadowy presence she thought she saw fleeing the deceased agent’s body after his death.

Questioning her future with the FBI & her sanity, Hardwicke accepts a low-level assignment to clear out the belongings of a retired agent in the NY office. What she finds there will put her on the trail of a mysterious figure named Hugo Blackwood, a man of enormous means who claims to have been alive for centuries, & who is either an unhinged lunatic, or humanity’s best & only defense against unspeakable evil.

First off, it’s pronounced ‘Gee-AIR-mo’ (Gee like GHEE butter, not like Gee wiz.) Del Toro is a well-known Hollywood film maker (click HERE for his IMDB page) & if you haven’t heard, he is bringing a remake of ‘The Witches’ (by Roald Dahl, 1983) to the big screen (Oct ’20, unless delayed). ‘The Strain‘ TV adaptation gave me nightmares, ‘Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark‘ gave me even more nightmares, but I STILL could not wait to get my hands on this book!

The Hollow Ones‘ is a gripping suspense/thriller/mystery with some unsettling, supernatural elements. It’s a well-developed story for as short as it is & hits the ground running with it’s fast-pace. Spell-binding, creepy, suspenseful & entertaining, ‘The Hollow Ones‘ didn’t give me the sleepless nights like the above mentioned adaptations, but I enjoyed it. If you liked the Denzel Washington movie ‘Fallen‘ (1998), you will love this!

Click HERE to add ‘The Hollow Ones’ to your Goodreads TBR.
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Click HERE to get ‘The Hollow Ones’ on audiobook with Libro.fm. (Use my code MOMLOVESREADING to get a 2-for-1 deal. Remember, Libro.fm supports indie bookstores with our audiobook purchases. Read more about Libro.fm HERE.

What others are saying about ‘THE HOLLOW ONES’:

“A transporting, pageturning thriller that rips open a brand new universe, filling it with suspense. Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan have a dark vision to share — and they’ve created quite a duo in Hugo Blackwood and Odessa Hardwicke, a Sherlockian partnership for the ages.”―Brad Meltzer, #1 NYT bestselling author of The Escape Artist

“If one could combine the world-conjuring magic of C. S. Lewis with the dark energy of Thomas Harris, one would be at least part of the way to understanding what makes THE HOLLOW ONES so special. Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan have yet another twisted masterpiece on their hands. An enduring new series combining horror, suspense, and fable.”―Stephen Chbosky, NYT bestselling author of The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Imaginary Friend

“A welcome gift to disciples of Lovecraft-ian fiction. Odessa Hardewick is cast in the mold of Clarice Starling. . . Inventive and macabre.”―Kirkus

“Fans of Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child’s Pendergast books will be enthralled.”―Publishers Weekly

Guillermo del Toro was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, in 1964. He is the director of the films Cronos, Mimic, The Devil’s Backbone, Blade II, Hellboy, Hellboy II, Pacific Rim, and Pan’s Labyrinth, which garnered enormous critical praise worldwide and won three Academy Awards, and The Shape of the Water, which won the 2018 Oscar Award for Best Picture.

Chuck Hogan is the author of several acclaimed novels, including Devils in Exile and Prince of Thieves, which won the 2005 Hammett Award, was named one of the ten best novels of the year by Stephen King, and was the basis of the motion picture The Town.