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.
Click HERE to visit Catherine Ryan Howard’s website.
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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.
Click HERE to read more about ‘The Strain’ book series.
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Click HERE to look for ‘The Hollow Ones’ & any other books at a local indie bookstore near you using BookStoreLink.
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.

Book Reviews · Fiction · Paranormal · Romance

Book Review: ‘Haunted Souls’ by Kathryn Knight

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Thank you @kathrynknightbooks for my gifted copy of ‘Haunted Souls‘ by Kathryn Knight! (pub 6/1/16).

Four years ago, Emily Shea & Staff Sergeant Brett Leeds agreed to part with no strings attached. Sparks flew during their brief affair, but fate intervened, sending Brett overseas. When an unexpected pregnancy derailed Emily’s own plans, her attempts to locate Brett were soon overwhelmed by the challenges of single motherhood. Now, Brett has returned home, & Emily is forced to share her secret.

Despite feeling betrayed, Brett is determined to forge a relationship with their son, Tyler. As the former lovers battle both their inner demons & their mutual desire, another presence enters their lives—Tyler’s imaginary friend. Soon, however, the chilling evidence points to a different conclusion: a ghost has formed a dangerous connection with their son. Emily’s attempts to help both a lost soul & a friend in need spiral toward a deadly confrontation, & Brett must race to save Emily before he loses her again—forever.

This is my first book by Kathryn Knight who also wrote ‘Dangerous Currents‘ (’18), ‘The Haunting of Hillwood Farm‘ (’18), ‘Ghost Moon‘ (’20) & other paranormal/suspense/contemporary romance novels, all of which have fantastic reviews on Goodreads & Amazon.

Knight has a real gift for storytelling & holding the readers attention with her strong & realistic characterization, intricately woven paranormal/romance storylines, & suspense building that keeps the reader captivated & not wanting to put the book down.

Haunted Souls‘ is an edgy, well-written, mystical, spine-tingling (& even a little steamy) story about reigniting lost love, dealing with military PTSD,  finding out you have a child, forgiveness, & adds the paranormal flare of a child’s ‘imaginary friend’ turning out to not be so imaginary afterall.

I really enjoyed ‘Haunted Souls‘ & I will be reading more of Kathryn Knight’s books in the near future, maybe around Halloween…wouldn’t that be perfect? A spooky, romance, mystery in one hand, a cup of hot tea in the other, a cozy blanket, & the fall leaves blowing outside…sounds good to me!

Click HERE to visit Kathryn Knight’s website.
Click HERE to find ‘Haunted Souls’ or other books at an independent bookstore near you.
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USA TODAY Bestselling Author Kathryn Knight writes books filled with steamy romance, dangerous secrets, & haunting mysteries. Her novels are award-winning #1 Amazon & B&N Bestsellers & RomCon Reader-Rated picks. When she’s not reading or writing, Kathryn spends her time exploring abandoned places & searching for ghosts. She lives on beautiful Cape Cod with her husband, their two sons, & a number of rescued pets. Please visit her at Kathryn Knight books on Facebook, @k_knightbooks on Twitter, or email her at Kathrynknightbooks (at) comcast.net.

Titles by Kathryn Knight:
Silver Lake (a #1 Amazon Bestseller, RomCon 2013 Reader’s Crown Finalist, electronic rights acquired by Amazon Encore in 2015)
Gull Harbor (a #1 Amazon Bestseller, A #1 Barnes & Noble Bestseller, Top 10 Reviewer Pick at MyShelf Reviews, RomCon 2014 Reader’s Crown Finalist, Best Kindle Romance Book 2014 Semi-Finalist)  Now an audio book!
Divine Fall (Best YA Romance 2015 at The Romance Reviews, RomCon 2015 Reader’s Crown Finalist, Best Kindle YA Book 2015 Semi-Finalist, Reviewer Nominee for the BTS Reviews 2016 Red Carpet Award) 
Haunted Souls (A Top 3 Read of 2016 at Read Free.ly)  Now available in Audio!
Dangerous Currents ~ New Release ~ Steamy Second-Chance Romance filled with Secrets and Suspense!
The Haunting of Hillwood Farm (Best Romantic Suspense of 2018 at N.N. Light’s Book Reviews, One of the Top 40 Paranormal Romance Books at Reedsy Discovery) Coming soon to audio!

Book Reviews · Fiction · Thriller

Book Review: ‘Survivor Song’ by Paul Tremblay

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Thank you @williammorrowbooks (partner) for my gifted copy of ‘Survivor Song‘ by Paul Tremblay! (pub date 7/7)

In a matter of weeks, Massachusetts has been overrun by an insidious rabies-like virus that is spread by saliva. But unlike rabies, the disease has a terrifyingly short incubation period of an hour or less. Those infected quickly lose their minds & are driven to bite & infect as many others as they can before they inevitably succumb. Hospitals are inundated with the sick & dying, & hysteria has taken hold. To try to limit its spread, the commonwealth is under quarantine & curfew. But society is breaking down & the government’s emergency protocols are faltering.

Dr. Ramola “Rams” Sherman, a soft-spoken pediatrician in her mid-thirties, receives a frantic phone call from Natalie, a friend who is 8 mos pregnant. Natalie’s husband has been killed—viciously attacked by an infected neighbor—& in a failed attempt to save him, Natalie, too, was bitten. Natalie’s only chance of survival is to get to a hospital as quickly as possible to receive a rabies vaccine. The clock is ticking for her & for her unborn child.

Natalie’s fight for life becomes a desperate odyssey as she & Rams make their way through a hostile landscape filled with dangers beyond their worst nightmares—terrifying, strange, & sometimes deadly challenges that push them to the brink..Paul Tremblay once again demonstrates his mastery in this chilling & all-too-plausible novel that will leave readers racing through the pages…& shake them to their core.

As far as the Co-Vid pandemic, I dislike everything about it. When it comes to books or movies about viruses making people cray-cray, SIGN ME UP! I loved movies like ‘Outbreak‘, ‘Contagion‘, ‘World War Z’, ‘Quarantine‘ & ‘The Crazies‘ & even Chris Pine’s 2009 movie (w/ a virus that originates in China [yep!]) called ‘Carriers‘.

Survivor Song‘ gave me vibes of all of the above & then some! I love that the protagonists are female (Nat & Rams) & the lengths Nat goes to in order to protect her friend. This is apocalyptic horror/thriller, with a heap of suspense, scoop of sci-fi, & a big ol’ cup of female friendship. ‘Survivor Song‘ is a fast-paced, heart-pounding, anxiety inducing, nail-biter of an entertaining as hell read! (If you are already experiencing a lot of CoVid anxiety, maybe save this one for another time…)

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Click HERE to add the book to your Goodreads lists.

QOTD: Who else is really into the virus/contagion/outbreak kinda books/movies? Hey, I learned a LOT from each of them!

What others are saying about ‘Survivor Song’:

“For the past few years, Paul Tremblay has been setting the standard for modern horror. His genius is that he never forgets the core of a great horror novel resides first in its characters. In Survivor Song, he revitalizes the zombie novel by keeping the focus narrow and intimate: two women, in the space of a few hours, just trying to get across town. The result is heartfelt and terrifying, in a narrative that moves like a bullet train.” (Nathan Ballingrud, author of North American Lake Monsters and Wounds)

“A cinematic scope, scenarios grounded in the real world, and a breathless pace make this thriller one of the must-read titles of the summer. A prescient, insidious horror novel that takes sheer terror to a whole new level.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))

“Fresh and surprising. Survivor Song may be one of Tremblay’s best – beautifully detailed, viscerally frightening, and deep with emotional resonance.” (Dan Chaon, New York Times bestselling author of Ill Will)

“Tremblay has earned worldwide acclaim because he is able to seamlessly combine reality with speculative elements, and his newest may be his most prescient yet. . . . Gorgeously written about terrible things, the relatively short Survivor Song is a good choice for fans of pandemic epics . . . and novels that probe themes of friendship, family, and social commentary amidst chillingly realistic horror.” (Booklist (starred review))

“Tremblay is an undeniably skillful writer. The sentences are lean where they need to be, decorative where they need to be. . . . He knows how to drive the story forward, while affording it a layer of linguistic color.”  (New York Times)

Survivor Song is a breathlessly compelling read, powerfully frightening and very moving – a nightmare that rings all too terribly true.” (Ramsey Campbell, author of The Wise Friend)

“The vividly drawn characters of Ramola and Natalie give the story an uncommon emotional intensity. This is genuinely hard to put down.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))

“Gripping . . . a thinking person’s thriller, interspersed with moments of hilarity . . . a buzz-saw of a novel.”  (Los Angeles Times)

“A terrifyingly realistic take on the zombie trope. . .A fast-paced, gritty, emotionally wrenching thriller.” (Book and Film Globe)

“Survivor Song is a horror novel with a lot of heart; an engaging, immersive, touching, fast read that’s incredibly timely and packed with sharp observations. I would say it’s one of Tremblay’s best, but that is something most reviews say, so instead I’ll say this: Maine has its horror guy, and now Massachusetts has its guy.” (Vol 1Brooklyn)

Paul Tremblay has won the Bram Stoker, British Fantasy, and Massachusetts Book awards and is the author of Growing Things, The Cabin at the End of the World, Disappearance at Devil’s Rock, A Head Full of Ghosts, and the crime novels The Little Sleep and No Sleep Till Wonderland. His essays and short fiction have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Entertainment Weekly online, and numerous year’s-best anthologies. He has a master’s degree in mathematics and lives outside Boston with his family.