Sheila's Books Read

Sheila's bookshelf: read

The Best Intentions
Scotland's Melody
The Secret Society of Salzburg
Secret of the Sonnets
20-40-60-Minute Dinners: Meals to Match the Time You Have
Through the Wilderness: My Journey of Redemption and Healing in the American Wild
Secret Santa Claus Club: A Tool to Help Parents Unwrap the Secret of Santa
Mr. Pudgins
Revenge Never Rests
The Best Mistake
Meriden Park
More Inspirational Stories for Young Women
The Great Tree: A Christmas Fable
To Capture His Heart
The Call of the Sea
Esperance
Livvy and the Enchanted Woodland
Come, Gentle Night
The Bad Boy Theory
Guide To Smart Wedding Planning: What You want to know and everything you haven't thought of yet.


Sheila's favorite books »

2024 Goodreads Reading Challenge

2024 Reading Challenge

2024 Reading Challenge
Sheila has read 4 books toward her goal of 100 books.
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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Disconnect: A Saint Squad Novel By Traci Hunter Abramson-Thriller Book Review


 Book Synopsis

Brent Miller is still trying to get past the nightmares of his last mission into Nicaragua when a new commander takes charge of his Navy SEAL team. Commander Gardner has just one objective: to further his career. And the so-called Saint Squad is in his way. When Gardner makes changes that threaten operational readiness, the squad is determined to fight back―until a familiar threat resurfaces, compelling the once formidable team to battle on two fronts against seemingly insurmountable odds.

When equipment fails inexplicably, Brent and the other members of the squad realize too late that terrorists wield a devastating power that will effectively cripple the nation. Forced to utilize their ingenuity and resources to circumvent their new commander, the team faces a chilling reality: even if they find a way to neutralize the threat, bringing everyone home safely may be their greatest challenge yet.






Book Detail

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Covenant Communications (June 4, 2024)
  • Genre: Thriller {Wholesome Suspense}
  • Series: The Saint Squad
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 288 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1524422525
  • ****I received a complimentary book from publishers, publicists, NetGalley, book tours, and or authors.  A review was not required and all opinions and ideas expressed are my own.****



My Review

There are certain series that completely captivate me, the characters become like family, and you get so emotionally invested in everything that happens. For years, I've been a devoted fan of Traci Hunter Abramson's Saint Squad Series, which follows a Navy Seal Team. "Disconnect" is the 13th book in the series. To be clear, the emotional impact of this book won’t be as strong if you haven’t read the first twelve books. Yes, you can read it as a stand-alone, but the series is definitely worth reading.

Disconnect introduces suspenseful elements such as a new commander (who shall not be named), who disrupts the brotherhood experienced by The Saint Squad, causing tension and endangering their unit. I love to see the bond between these men who are like brothers and willing to sacrifice everything for each other, but it made me truly frustrated as I saw the team being threatened. I felt as helpless as the team and their wives.

"Disconnect" also ties together not only the Saint Squad series but also includes characters from the Guardian series. Jim Whitmore finally is inaugurated as the new President of the United States. The novel intertwines various characters' storylines, such as Amy, Brent, Seth, and Vannesa's career challenges and one couple's heartbreaking struggle with infertility. 

The book is packed with intense military scenes, gunfire, explosions, and some utterly shocking moments, especially at the end. The gripping suspense and unforeseen plot twists make it hard to put down. Even with the shocking twists (cliffhanger enters stage right), I loved this book and can’t wait for the next one coming in spring 2025. Traci Hunter Abramson once again delivers a story that will undoubtedly spark discussions for months to come.

****Meet Author Traci Hunter Abramson****

Traci Hunter Abramson was born in Arizona, where she lived until moving to Venezuela for a study-abroad program. After graduating from Brigham Young University, she worked for the Central Intelligence Agency for several years, eventually resigning in order to raise her family. She credits the CIA with giving her a wealth of ideas for suspense novels as well as the skills needed to survive her children's teenage years. She has gone on to write a number of bestselling suspense novels that have consistently been nominated as Whitney Award finalists. She considers shoes an optional accessory which became evident when she won her first three Whitney Awards in 2013 (Code Word), 2014 (Deep Cover), and 2016 (Failsafe.) Safe House won Whitney Awards for both the mystery/suspense category as well as 2017 Adult Novel of the Year. She added two additional awards in 2019 (Mistaken Reality - best mystery/suspense and Sanctuary - Adult Novel of the Year.) She currently lives in Virginia with her family where she enjoys sports, travel, writing, and recently retired from coaching high school swimming. Follow Traci on BookBub at https://www.bookbub.com/profile/traci-hunter-abramson and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/tracihabramson/

~*~*~*~*Purchase Disconnect~*~*~*~*

HERE:

Paperback-https://amzn.to/3W5jeaZ

Kindle-https://amzn.to/3xuFRfj

Friday, July 12, 2024

The Garden Girls ( FBI: Strange Crimes Unit, Book 3) by Jessica R. Patch-Christian Psychological Thriller Review

The Garden Girls by Jessica R. Patch Banner

THE GARDEN GIRLS

FBI: Strange Crimes Unit, Book 3

by Jessica R. Patch

June 24 - July 19, 2024 Virtual Book Tour

Book Synopsis:

The Garden Girls by Jessica R. Patch

FBI: Strange Crimes Unit

 

On a remote Outer Banks island, a serial killer collects his prized specimens. And to stop him, an FBI agent must confront his own twisted past.

FBI agent Tiberius Granger has seen his share of darkness. But a new case sets him on edge. It’s not just the macabre way both victims—found posed in front of lighthouses—are tattooed with flowers that match their names. There’s also the unsettling connection to the woman Ty once loved and to the shadowy cult they both risked everything to escape.

Bexley Hemmingway’s sister has gone missing, and she’ll do anything to find her—including teaming up with Ty. That may prove a mistake, and not just because Ty doesn’t know he’s the father of her teenaged son. It seems the killer is taunting Ty, drawing everyone close to him into deeper danger.

As the slashing winds and rain of a deadly hurricane approach the coast of North Carolina, the search leads Ty and Bex to an island that hides a grisly secret. But in his quest for the truth, Ty has ignored the fact that this time, he’s not just the hunter. Every move has been orchestrated by a killer into a perfect storm of terror, and they will need all their skills to survive…

Praise for The Garden Girls:

"A perfect storm of thrilling suspense and intricate plot twists that will leave readers breathless!"
~ Nancy Mehl, author of the Ryland & St. Clair series

"The Garden Girls by Jessica R. Patch is a hold-your-breath-and-pray novel full of suspense and unexpected twists. This gritty and compelling story is outstanding in every way. Highly recommended!"
~ Colleen Coble, USA Today bestselling author

"In a word, WOW! The story caught me up and didn’t let go to the final page. Tight action, beautiful pacing. **Highly Recommended**"
~ Carrie Stuart Parks, best-selling, award-winning author

"'Riveting!' Jessica R. Patch has created an immaculate psychological thriller that will leave the reader racing through the pages. Well-written characters and a plot that sizzles and crackles with danger made this story impossible for me to put down, and yet I didn’t want it to end. . .it’s that good. The Garden Girls will leave you breathless from the non-stop suspense filling the pages and wanting more from this amazing author"
~ USA Today Bestselling Author Mary Alford, author of Among the Innocent

"Buckle your seatbelt! Jessica R. Patch is about to blow you off the road with The Garden Girls. The story will grab you on the first page and won’t let go until The End!"
~ Patricia Bradley, USA Today Best-Selling romantic suspense author of Counter Attack Book 1 in the Pearl River Series



 My Review

The Garden Girls is a psychological criminal thriller that leaves you on the edge of your seat. Do expect some moments of heart palpitations. The novel takes us through various amount of characters' viewpoints. 

On page one The Garden Girls starts with a bang and the fireworks never stop.

"Sharp claws scrape along my neck.

Back and forth.

           Back and forth. 

     Zzzzt...zzzzzzz...zzt...

Buzzing fills the room, and I strain to open my eyes but they're like molasses, thick and sticky and slow-moving. My stomach jumps and the room shifts as my blurred vision registers red walls and coffee-colored concrete. I inhale a hint of bleach and incense with a spicy note as I shift to survey the rest of the room."


Writer Jessica R. Patch writes such beautiful prose amidst the danger and heavy creepiness factor. She is known for her signature twists, and twists you will get. With several missing young women, six or more possible suspects, and the crime unit always one step behind, there is much to digest and piece together in this thriller.  

The story revolves around FBI Agent Tiberius Granger where his past and present collide. There are deeply hidden secrets that could turn the outcome of the case backward. The team races around the clock to locate and halt the serial killer, who hasn't stopped taunting Ty at every turn. 

My reading experience was as follows: many moments to stop and process, not reading this at night, and of course, jumping up and down as new things came to light. This novel is gritty, intense, and messes with your mind. Just when you think you've solved who is behind things, readers will be yanked in another direction. I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Garden Girls and will be seeking out more books by this author.

Book Details:

Genre: Christian Psychological Thriller
Published by: Love Inspired Trade
Publication Date: April 23, 2024
Number of Pages: 367
ISBN: 9781335463074 (ISBN10: 1335463070)
Series: FBI: Strange Crimes Unit, Book 3 || Each is a Stand-Alone Novel
Book Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookShop.org | Goodreads | Harlequin | JessicaRPatch.com 

****I received a complimentary book from publishers, publicists, NetGalley, book tours, and or authors.  A review was not required and all opinions and ideas expressed are my own.**** 

Read an excerpt:

Prologue

Sharp claws scrape along my neck.

Back and forth.

Back and forth.

Buzzing fills the room, and I strain to open my eyes but they’re like molasses, thick and sticky and slow-moving. My stomach jumps and the room shifts as my blurred vision registers red walls and coffee-colored concrete. I inhale a hint of bleach and incense with a spicy note as I shift to survey the rest of the room, but my muscles ripple like languid water.

The air-conditioner kicks on, and the cold air raises chills across my naked body.

I’m…naked. A fist squeezes my lungs as panic rips through my system. My memories are disjointed.

Where am I? How did I arrive here?

What is happening to me? What has already happened? Shoe soles click on the floor and silence my questions.

I am not alone. Or…I wasn’t. The door closes with a quiet click.

Get up. Move. Run!

Gripping the sides of a massage table, I roll off, and my bare feet hit cool flooring. The walls close in and shift, and my stomach roils. Something is wrong. Off.

Floor-to-ceiling mirrors cover an entire wall, and my breath catches as reality comes into view.

Pink flower buds wend through a vine of black along my neck and upper back.

Confusion clouds my senses, and I stand cemented in place gawking at the angry red skin, sore and tender and smeared with glossy petroleum jelly.

A tight knot grows in my throat, and tears stab with heated force against the backs of my eyes.

I have to get out of here.

Behind me, I spot a twin bed with luxurious sheets and a thick white comforter as well as tattooing equipment. My hands tremble. Am I in a tattoo parlor? Why is a bed in here?

Lying on the floor next to the bed is an old iron cuff attached to a thick, heavy chain that is anchored to the wall.

Why is that in here and where are my clothes?

I snatch the downy comforter and drape it over my exposed body.

Run. Run. Run!

I open the door but have no clue which way to go or where he is or how long until he finds and cuffs me to that bed.

I’ve been trapped before at the hands of a vicious predator. Old memories surface and spur me across the carpeted flooring. The hall veers left. My eyes begin to adjust to the darkness as I flee to safety—no.

To a dead end.

Defeat leaches like muddy water into my soul, and my chest aches. The only choice is to turn around.

But he’s in that direction.

Sweat slicks down my temples and spine, springing up through my pores like an underground fountain as I return the way I came.

I see what might be a crack in the wall. Light seeps in from the other side. As I approach, I discover it’s a door made to look like part of the wall. I swallow hard and guide my fingers along the smooth wood until I feel a lever. I push it and the door releases, but it takes some grit to open it enough for me to slide through.

I expect some kind of lair or dungeon or God knows what—a wall with torture devices and cages—but it’s not.

It’s a living room with wall-to-wall windows overlooking dark water.

Where is he?

I suck in a breath as creaking registers on the stairs. There’s nowhere to hide, and the comforter is bulky and will easily give me away. I have no option but to ditch it in the corner. I can’t dwell on modesty.

Outside.

I dart toward the sliding glass door, silently slide it open and slip out into the warm night air before scrambling to the edge of the balcony. I crouch to make myself small, like when I was a child and needed to obscure myself.

Maybe he doesn’t realize I’m gone, but then it hits me.

I didn’t shut the secret door concealing the other rooms.

A sob bubbles to the surface as I shake uncontrollably like I’ve woken from anesthesia. The ground is far below me. I’d die or break my legs, maybe my spine. But I’d rather die than go back to that room.

To that chain.

To more tattoo needles.

To him.

I draw up my knees and wait, pray. Hope.

When the door doesn’t open, I scoot across the deck, the raw wood digging into tender flesh, but I need to see if the coast is clear.

What if he’s standing at the door, waiting? Watching?

I hear something and freeze.

One Mississippi. Two Mississippi…I count silently until I reach Twenty Mississippi and scoot again.

I can’t be sure if he’s nearby. If he is, deep in the marrow of my bones, I know the kinds of things that await me. I know what evil men can do. I’ve seen it. Experienced it.

Finally, I muster the courage to peep through the door. The room is empty and dimly lit from the one glowing lamp. I creep inside; my brain is fuzzy and spins.

No footsteps. Only bulging shadows in the corners.

I slither across the Berber carpet and inhale the newness. A set of stairs is on the other side of the open living concept. About ten feet of space isn’t occupied with furniture which means when I make a run for it, and he enters the room, I’ll have no cover.

If he doesn’t and I make it downstairs, he could still be waiting for me.

I try to form a defense plan, but my brain might as well be sludge. Making my move, more out of my flight response than logic, I army-crawl across the open space to the stairs.

Two sets of six. I practically roll down the first set and pause.

He’s not there at the small landing.

Six more to go.

This time I move slower, ignoring the adrenaline shouting sprint. I can’t. He could be waiting and I need to listen.

One…two…three…four…five…six. I pause again at the bottom of the stairs.

No light befriends me on the ground floor. Only darkness—and darkness is never a friend. Darkness is deceptive, offering false security. Nothing good transpires in darkness. It’s not a refuge to hide. But a place to be found. In the dark, I can’t see my predator, but I know he’s lurking.

The door is five feet away to freedom, and I sprint for it.

Hope blooms in my chest.

I mutter a prayer as I run. Three feet left.

Two.

Thank God, I’m here. I twist the knob.

It’s locked.

A cry cracks loose inside me, but I hold it down and fumble with the dead bolt.

Shuffling sounds across tile.

Closer. Closer.

I manage to turn the dead bolt and pull on the door, but it sticks.

He’s coming. The clicks are methodic, slow and measured as if he’s in no hurry. Like he knows I can’t escape. It’s a game.

Please. Please. Come on!

The door opens and I slip out, forcing myself to stay calm in case my mind is playing tricks on me and it’s not him. This time, I make sure to close the door behind me. The air is balmy and the wind rustles through the grass.

The briny sea air washes over my tongue and the marsh grass swishes as I dart down a private boardwalk that leads…I don’t know where. I only know to run and eat up the ground and create distance between me and the house of horror. Between me and him.

Thick walls of clouds block the moonlight.

A door slams. Then I hear something.

Thwupt. Thwupt. Thwupt.

He’s dragging something across the boardwalk. I dare not turn to look.

He’s coming.

Slow and methodical. Silent. Only the awful dragging noise.

Nothing comes into view but marshland and water surrounded by clusters of trees. Alligators lie in wait. I can’t remember how I know this. There are snakes and snapping turtles too.

But he’s behind me.

Plopping noises in the water draw my attention, and I freeze. What is it? Will it approach me or prey on me if I enter too?

I can’t risk staying on the boardwalk. I ease myself into the icy depths and it steals my breath. Slime oozes over my feet, and I sink into mire. Murky water reaches my waist, sending a shock along my abdomen, but I can’t gasp. Instead, I push through the grass and hope the stirring due to my movement won’t alert him of my location.

Sharp twigs and rocks gouge into the bottom of my feet, and I crunch my bottom lip to keep from crying. Marsh grass appears soft at a glance, but it’s strong and sharp like knitting needles and stabs into my flesh and tender places where I’ve been tattooed in flowers.

Ahead is a patch of dense trees that would conceal me even in daylight. A huge splash sends ripples only a few feet away, startling resting birds to flight. Now I know what’s been causing the dragging noise.

A canoe.

He’s cutting through the narrow channels and at an advantage.

I can’t stop now. I push through the mud, which tries to hold me captive, and toward the dense thicket of trees. I finagle my way inside, but it’s like camping in a thorn bush, and nettles rip my flesh. A quiet cry escapes my throat, and I cover my mouth.

Did he hear me? Does he know I’m here?

I shiver in the water, my teeth chattering as something lightweight drops onto the crown of my head and skitters into the thick layers before I can catch it.

I squeeze my eyes shut and clench my jaw to muffle a scream. What hideous legged creature is creeping through my hair?

What swims unseen below my waist?

Plop. Plop. Plop.

Fish, alligators, snakes…him?

“Daaaah, daaaah, dah daaaah,” his rich buttery tone sings. It echoes through the wetland and sweeps over my skin like icy talons. “I’ve got all night,” he continues singing. “I’ll take my time.” I cup my hands over my mouth to silence my chattering teeth. He’s close. So close. “I’ll find you. There’s nowhere to hide,” he belts out as if we’re in a Broadway show. His voice is magical and terrifying. “You belong to meeeee…You want only meee…”

I can’t stay here. He’ll find me. I work as silently as possible out of the thicket and away from the concentration of his voice. I hoist myself onto the wooden boardwalk because he believes I’m in the water. Rushing is out of the question. He’ll hear my footfalls. Slow and steady is about all I can muster anyway. My legs might as well be licorice sticks.

He’s still singing and slicing an oar through the water as I forge ahead, quickening my steps by a small measure until I finally reach the end of the boardwalk and am on dry ground. In the woods.

The woods mean I’ll find a road at the clearing. Help will drive by, and I’ll flag it down to freedom.

I wait a beat while my eyes adjust to greater darkness. The trees loom overhead, and the ground is mushy and mixed with sand. I stub my toe, tripping over roots jutting out, but press on. There’s a path and I follow it. Bike path maybe?

My feet are cut and bleeding and my head pounds. The path curves, then straightens out, and I halt.

Not a road.

Not freedom.

Before me is a long stretch of beach littered with driftwood and shells that cut into my feet. Beyond the beach is the endless sea. No homes. Only wetland to my back and the sea everywhere else.

I have no boat. No canoe. Nothing to propel me to freedom.

I’m on a private island, and I finally remember how I arrived.

***

Excerpt from The Garden Girls by Jessica R. Patch. Copyright 2024 by Jessica R. Patch. Reproduced with permission from Jessica R. Patch. All rights reserved.

 

 

Author Bio:

Jessica R. Patch

Publishers Weekly Bestselling Author, Jessica R. Patch is known for her dry wit and signature twists whether she’s penned a romantic suspense, a cold case thriller, or a small-town romance. When she’s not getting into fictional mischief with her characters, you can find her cozy on the couch in her mid-south home reading books by some of her favorite authors, watching movies with her family, and collecting recipes to amazing dishes she’ll probably never cook. Sign up for her newsletter "Patched In" at www.jessicarpatch.com and receive a FREE short thriller exclusive to subscribers. Jessica is represented by Rachel Kent of Books & Such Literary Management.

Catch Up With Jessica R. Patch:
www.jessicarpatch.com
Goodreads - @JessicaRPatch
BookBub - @JessicaRPatch
Instagram - @JessicaRPatch
Threads - @JessicaRPatch
Twitter/X - @JessicaRPatch
Facebook - @JessicaRPatch
TikTok - @readjessicarpatch

 

 

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Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Secondary Target: (Romantic Suspense Debut Novel) By Angela Carlisle





 Book Synopsis

After the brutal murder of her mother and brother twelve years ago, Corina Roberts built a new life in Kentucky. But then strange things begin to happen, and she is thrust into a perilous game of life and death. With nowhere else to turn, her best hope of survival depends on her ex, army veteran Bryce Jessup.

Recently returned from service, Bryce has every intention of staying away from Corina, but when threats close in around her, he isn't willing to leave her safety to chance. As their search for answers uncovers lethal secrets her detective father kept hidden, Bryce and Corina must untangle the mystery of the merciless killer intent on terrorizing and eliminating Corina's family before it's too late.

Debut author Angela Carlisle will leave you breathless with this bone-chilling story of a ruthless murderer, a deadly secret, and an unbreakable love.



Book Details

SECONDARY TARGET by Angela Carlisle
SERIES: 
The Secrets of Kincaid #1

GENRE: Romantic Suspense (Christian)
PUBLISHER: Bethany House
RELEASE DATE: May 7, 2024
PAGES: 325

****I received a complimentary book from publishers, publicists, NetGalley, book tours, and or authors.  A review was not required and all opinions and ideas expressed are my own.****




My Review

Secondary Target is the debut novel by Angela Carlisle, and this point alone is impressive. The story interweaves many characters tied together in the novel. The introduction of an unyielding stalker seeking vengeance adds an exciting thriller aspect to the plot, especially when he/she shows no fear of taking down anyone in their way.

Throughout this book, many individuals are coping with inner struggles, Corina, her father William, and her old boyfriend Bryce. A key focus is the slow burn of Corina and Bryce's love, especially with the family's history of tragedy and isolation following the murders of Corina's mother and brother. As soon as a threat from their past returns, this rattles their peace, which leads to an extreme amount of chaos and fear. 

This is a Christian suspense novel that has moments of prayer and discussions about faith. This highlights the growth that Corina needs to live a life that is fulfilling and happy.

 The book's ending is as surprising to readers as it is to Corina when the identity behind the ruthless villain is unexpectedly revealed. The author's ability to fool readers adds to the story's overall intrigue. 

Secondary Target is an exciting read with its mix of suspenseful elements, including a menacing stalker and a fast-paced storyline, that explores themes of forgiveness and healing.


****Meet Author Angela Carlisle****


Angela Carlisle resides in the hills of northern Kentucky and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and The Christian PEN. Angela is an editor by day and prefers to spend her free time reading, baking, and drinking ridiculous quantities of hot tea. Her unpublished works have won awards in ACFW’s Genesis and First Impressions contests and placed in the Daphne du Maurier contest. Her shorter fiction works, including the prize-winning flash-fiction piece “Mansion Murderer,” have appeared in Splickety and Spark magazines. Connect with Angela at her website.



~*~*~*~*Purchase Secondary Target~*~*~*~*

HERE:

Paperback-https://amzn.to/4cbS7Ah

Kindle-https://amzn.to/3KYziVA

Monday, July 8, 2024

With One Kiss By Cheryl Holt: A Sister's Duet Book Two-Regency Romance Review

Sisters: WITH ONE LOOK and WITH ONE KISS by Cheryl Holt Banner

A SISTERS DUET: With One Kiss

Book Two

by Cheryl Holt

June 10 - July 12, 2024 Virtual Book Tour


WITH ONE KISS: Book Two in The Sister's Duet Series



 Fall in love with CHERYL HOLT all over again! She delivers the companion novel in her fun and dramatic SISTERS duet! It’s another tale of passion, forbidden romance, and love forevermore…

CHARLOTTE CRONENWORTH was born into a rich, prominent family, but after her father’s death, her fortunes plummeted. To support herself, she’s been teaching at a girl’s boarding school. Just as she’d begun to feel secure and complacent, the school went bankrupt, so it was closed and the students sent home. She’s been cast to the winds of fate, and she’s hoping to find employment as a governess, but she’s not optimistic. A woman on her own is never safe in her personal circumstances.

WINSTON WAINWRIGHT is Earl of Dartmouth. His title is one of the oldest and most esteemed in the kingdom, and he’s a rich, pompous snob. He takes his high status for granted and he’s confident of his elevated spot in the world. He was raised to believe that lesser mortals should bow down to his exalted self, and he never regrets his conceited attitudes or haughty habits.

When Winston meets Charlotte, there’s an instant attraction, and he’s enough of a rogue to feel entitled to act on it. He’ll be delighted to trifle with her, but she’s so far beneath him. He would never have honorable intentions. But with one kiss, he’s totally ensnared, and she just might be the one woman who can make him happy forever…



My Review

The second book in the Sister's Duet series by Author Cheryl Holt is 'With One Kiss'. This book, similar to the first one, can be enjoyed as a standalone. Holt effectively intertwines the events from With One Look in this book. The author was able to blend the stories and characters well in this sequel.  

In comparison to Theo and Jackson from the first book, Charlotte and Winston, Earl of Dartmouth, have very different and distinct personalities. Charlotte is depicted as hot-tempered and stubborn, while Winston radiates arrogance and lacks remorse. Readers will wonder if it will be possible for them to ever rectify their differences?

The author masterfully develops both characters, which brings out some strong emotions in Charlotte toward Winston because of his questionable actions.Without giving away details, Winston's behavior sparked a fiery reaction in me too.

The antagonists in book two are shown as even more malicious and cruel compared to Arthur and his mother in the first book.

 Readers can look forward to a plot filled with deception, hidden family truths, broken promises, bullying, and unexpected plot twists.  

I recommend having both books on hand when starting the duet, as the stories are closely interconnected and should be read one right after the other.

 While the characters in 'With One Kiss' may take longer to grow on readers, eventually all things will be resolved as all the pieces fall into place to produce a happy ending.


Book Details:

Genre: Regency Period Historical Romance
Published by: Indie
Publication Date: June 19, 2024
Series: A Sisters Duet
Series Link: Amazon

****I received a complimentary book from publishers, publicists, NetGalley, book tours, and or authors.  A review was not required and all opinions and ideas expressed are my own.**** 


 

WITH ONE LOOK: Book One in a Sister's Duet (Review One in Previous Post)

 

CHERYL HOLT dazzles readers once again with her new two-book SISTERS duet! It’s two fun, fast-paced, and dramatic tales of love forevermore…

JACKSON BENNETT is an army veteran who was seriously wounded in India while saving the life of a royal cousin. As his reward, he’s become the new Earl of Thornhill. But it’s an honor he doesn’t want. After barely surviving his final tour of duty, his view of life has been altered. He simply likes to loaf, gamble, and revel in every decadent activity he can find.

THEODORA CRONENWORTH is a dreamer and idealist who thinks the world should be a much fairer place, particularly for women. She works hard to improve women’s lives, and she definitely believes prominent men should behave better.

When Jackson meets Theodora, he’s humored by her energy and pluck, but he’s a confirmed bachelor who doesn’t think he could ever fall in love. With one look, he’s completely smitten, and with Theodora rattling his debauched existence, nothing will ever be the same


Book Details:

Genre: Regency Period Historical Romance
Published by: Indie
Publication Date: June 19, 2024
Series: A Sisters Duet
Series Link: Amazon

****I received a complimentary book from publishers, publicists, NetGalley, book tours, and or authors.  A review was not required and all opinions and ideas expressed are my own.**** 

Read an excerpt from WITH ONE LOOK:

CHAPTER ONE

Theodora Cronenworth, called Theo by her family, strolled down the London street toward her home. She’d just attended the latest rally of the Matron’s Brigade, and she was lost in thought, struggling to deduce why she was still a member.

The group claimed to have begun a crusade against the dandies and vixens of the demimonde. The city had become a den of iniquity and they were determined to clean it up. Illicit conduct was rampant, and from the most toplofty aristocrat to the lowliest opera dancer, people were openly wallowing in sin and vice.

There seemed to be no limit to their depravities and civic leaders ignored what was happening. In fact, many of them were the worst offenders. So the Brigade had been formed.

The ladies had shrouded themselves in the mantle of moral indignation, and their purported goal was to root about decadence, but from Theo’s perspective, they simply argued amongst themselves over which direction to take. They also liked to point fingers as to who was sufficiently devoted to the cause and who wasn’t.

When they finally chose a target, it was a female who had no power or rich friends to protect her. The Brigade liked to punch down at those who couldn’t fight back and their focus enraged Theo.

In her view, if a woman was lured into wickedness, it was always the fault of a corrupt man. She constantly suggested they shame some of the scoundrels who instigated so much of the trouble, but the group wouldn’t hear of it. She’d flat-out been apprised that they didn’t dare harass any important males, and their cowardice infuriated her. None of their motives were true and they were a gaggle of hypocrites.

Her stepmother, Georgina, had encouraged her to join. Theo was clever with words, and she’d been tasked with writing pamphlets that would spread their message, but any message she penned was watered down to irrelevance.

Though she never discussed it, her own family had been destroyed by a cad when she was a little girl. Her mother had run away with him and vanished forever. Theo had never learned his name or any other information about him, but he’d never been held to account for his mischief.

Shouldn’t he have been? Could any prominent gentleman ever be forced to answer for his dissolution? Shouldn’t women demand better behavior from them?

Well, if the tepid antics of the Matron’s Brigade were any indication, no changes would ever occur.

She shoved the issue out of her mind. It was a beautiful May afternoon, the sky clear, the temperature balmy, and it was silly to waste any energy fretting about the situation. She wasn’t the Brigade’s prisoner and she didn’t have to continue to participate.

***

Excerpt from Cheryl Holt by WITH ONE LOOK. Copyright 2024 by Cheryl Holt. Reproduced with permission from Cheryl Holt. All rights reserved.

 

 

Author Bio:

Cheryl Holt

CHERYL HOLT is a New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon “Top 100” bestselling author who has published over sixty novels.

She’s also a lawyer and mom, and at age forty, with two babies at home, she started a new career as a commercial fiction writer. She’d hoped to be a suspense novelist, but couldn’t sell any of her manuscripts, so she ended up taking a detour into romance where she was stunned to discover that she has a knack for writing some of the world’s greatest love stories.

Her books have been released to wide acclaim, and she has won or been nominated for many national awards. She is considered to be one of the masters of the romance genre. For many years, she was hailed as “The Queen of Erotic Romance”, and she’s also revered as “The International Queen of Villains.” She is particularly proud to have been named “Best Storyteller of the Year” by the trade magazine Romantic Times BOOK Reviews.

She lives and writes in Hollywood, California, and she loves to hear from fans.

Catch Up With Cheryl Holt:
www.cherylholt.com
Goodreads
BookBub - @CherylHolt
Instagram - @cherylholtauthor
Twitter/X - @TheCherylHolt
Facebook - @officialcherylholt

 

 

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Sunday, July 7, 2024

A Sister's Duet By Cheryl Holt-With One Look (Book One Review)

Sisters: WITH ONE LOOK and WITH ONE KISS by Cheryl Holt Banner

A SISTERS DUET: With One Look

Review of Book One 

by Cheryl Holt

June 10 - July 12, 2024 Virtual Book Tour

 

WITH ONE LOOK: Book One in a Sister's Duet

 

CHERYL HOLT dazzles readers once again with her new two-book SISTERS duet! It’s two fun, fast-paced, and dramatic tales of love forevermore…

JACKSON BENNETT is an army veteran who was seriously wounded in India while saving the life of a royal cousin. As his reward, he’s become the new Earl of Thornhill. But it’s an honor he doesn’t want. After barely surviving his final tour of duty, his view of life has been altered. He simply likes to loaf, gamble, and revel in every decadent activity he can find.

THEODORA CRONENWORTH is a dreamer and idealist who thinks the world should be a much fairer place, particularly for women. She works hard to improve women’s lives, and she definitely believes prominent men should behave better.

When Jackson meets Theodora, he’s humored by her energy and pluck, but he’s a confirmed bachelor who doesn’t think he could ever fall in love. With one look, he’s completely smitten, and with Theodora rattling his debauched existence, nothing will ever be the same.



MY REVIEW: Book One-With One Look

Love can unexpectedly find you, even when you're not searching. "With One Look" is a prime example of love catching you off guard with just a single glance. 

Set in Regency London,this historical romance showcases characters that break away from the typical stereotypes of the time. Theodora (Theo) Cronenworth is independent, strong-willed, and uninterested in marriage. Jackson Bennett, an army veteran turned Lord Thornhill, unexpectedly inherits a grand estate but has no desire for titles, property, or matrimony. 

  As Theo and Jackson's paths cross, their lives become intertwined with deceit, gambling, secret meetings, and a shared quest for the truth.  The characters in the novel, both good and bad, are flawed yet uniquely memorable. Theo and Jackson share an immediate connection filled with witty banter and sarcasm. Some of their conversations made me LOL.

Despite meddling relatives trying to sabotage their relationship, Jackson proves to be the hero Theo needs, even when he denies his own capabilities of being one. 

The story is packed with action, betrayal, slander, and deception from all angles, creating characters you'll love to hate and cheer against. You'll honestly start cheering when they get their comeuppance. 

"With One Look"delivers a likable, fast-paced read that will captivate fans of romance.


WITH ONE KISS(Reviewing Coming Soon!)

 

Fall in love with CHERYL HOLT all over again! She delivers the companion novel in her fun and dramatic SISTERS duet! It’s another tale of passion, forbidden romance, and love forevermore…

CHARLOTTE CRONENWORTH was born into a rich, prominent family, but after her father’s death, her fortunes plummeted. To support herself, she’s been teaching at a girl’s boarding school. Just as she’d begun to feel secure and complacent, the school went bankrupt, so it was closed and the students sent home. She’s been cast to the winds of fate, and she’s hoping to find employment as a governess, but she’s not optimistic. A woman on her own is never safe in her personal circumstances.

WINSTON WAINWRIGHT is Earl of Dartmouth. His title is one of the oldest and most esteemed in the kingdom, and he’s a rich, pompous snob. He takes his high status for granted and he’s confident of his elevated spot in the world. He was raised to believe that lesser mortals should bow down to his exalted self, and he never regrets his conceited attitudes or haughty habits.

When Winston meets Charlotte, there’s an instant attraction, and he’s enough of a rogue to feel entitled to act on it. He’ll be delighted to trifle with her, but she’s so far beneath him. He would never have honorable intentions. But with one kiss, he’s totally ensnared, and she just might be the one woman who can make him happy forever…

Book Details:

Genre: Regency Period Historical Romance
Published by: Indie
Publication Date: June 19, 2024
Series: A Sisters Duet
Series Link: Amazon

****I received a complimentary book from publishers, publicists, NetGalley, book tours, and or authors.  A review was not required and all opinions and ideas expressed are my own.**** 

Read an excerpt from WITH ONE LOOK:

CHAPTER ONE

Theodora Cronenworth, called Theo by her family, strolled down the London street toward her home. She’d just attended the latest rally of the Matron’s Brigade, and she was lost in thought, struggling to deduce why she was still a member.

The group claimed to have begun a crusade against the dandies and vixens of the demimonde. The city had become a den of iniquity and they were determined to clean it up. Illicit conduct was rampant, and from the most toplofty aristocrat to the lowliest opera dancer, people were openly wallowing in sin and vice.

There seemed to be no limit to their depravities and civic leaders ignored what was happening. In fact, many of them were the worst offenders. So the Brigade had been formed.

The ladies had shrouded themselves in the mantle of moral indignation, and their purported goal was to root about decadence, but from Theo’s perspective, they simply argued amongst themselves over which direction to take. They also liked to point fingers as to who was sufficiently devoted to the cause and who wasn’t.

When they finally chose a target, it was a female who had no power or rich friends to protect her. The Brigade liked to punch down at those who couldn’t fight back and their focus enraged Theo.

In her view, if a woman was lured into wickedness, it was always the fault of a corrupt man. She constantly suggested they shame some of the scoundrels who instigated so much of the trouble, but the group wouldn’t hear of it. She’d flat-out been apprised that they didn’t dare harass any important males, and their cowardice infuriated her. None of their motives were true and they were a gaggle of hypocrites.

Her stepmother, Georgina, had encouraged her to join. Theo was clever with words, and she’d been tasked with writing pamphlets that would spread their message, but any message she penned was watered down to irrelevance.

Though she never discussed it, her own family had been destroyed by a cad when she was a little girl. Her mother had run away with him and vanished forever. Theo had never learned his name or any other information about him, but he’d never been held to account for his mischief.

Shouldn’t he have been? Could any prominent gentleman ever be forced to answer for his dissolution? Shouldn’t women demand better behavior from them?

Well, if the tepid antics of the Matron’s Brigade were any indication, no changes would ever occur.

She shoved the issue out of her mind. It was a beautiful May afternoon, the sky clear, the temperature balmy, and it was silly to waste any energy fretting about the situation. She wasn’t the Brigade’s prisoner and she didn’t have to continue to participate.

***

Excerpt from Cheryl Holt by WITH ONE LOOK. Copyright 2024 by Cheryl Holt. Reproduced with permission from Cheryl Holt. All rights reserved.

 

 

Author Bio:

Cheryl Holt

CHERYL HOLT is a New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon “Top 100” bestselling author who has published over sixty novels.

She’s also a lawyer and mom, and at age forty, with two babies at home, she started a new career as a commercial fiction writer. She’d hoped to be a suspense novelist, but couldn’t sell any of her manuscripts, so she ended up taking a detour into romance where she was stunned to discover that she has a knack for writing some of the world’s greatest love stories.

Her books have been released to wide acclaim, and she has won or been nominated for many national awards. She is considered to be one of the masters of the romance genre. For many years, she was hailed as “The Queen of Erotic Romance”, and she’s also revered as “The International Queen of Villains.” She is particularly proud to have been named “Best Storyteller of the Year” by the trade magazine Romantic Times BOOK Reviews.

She lives and writes in Hollywood, California, and she loves to hear from fans.

Catch Up With Cheryl Holt:
www.cherylholt.com
Goodreads
BookBub - @CherylHolt
Instagram - @cherylholtauthor
Twitter/X - @TheCherylHolt
Facebook - @officialcherylholt

 

 

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and opportunities to WIN in the giveaway!

 

 

JOIN IN ON THE GIVEAWAY -

This is a giveaway hosted by Providence Book Promotions & Partners in Crime Tours for Cheryl Holt. See the widget for entry terms and conditions. Void where prohibited.

 

 

Find Your Next Great Read at Providence Book Promotions!

 

Saturday, July 6, 2024

Show Game By Steve Anderson-A Thriller Book Review

Show Game by Steve Anderson Banner

SHOW GAME

by Steve Anderson

July 1-12, 2024 Virtual Book Tour

Book Synopsis:

Show Game by Steve Anderson

A mysterious vigilante abducts powerful abusers and exposes them in a twisted “Show Game" in this psychological thriller.

The pandemic may be over, but the world is not safe for those who prey on the innocent. A vigilante known by the alias “Alex” knows what these transgressors have done. And taking them captive is only the first step toward vengeance. In order to be set free, they must first play the Show Game . . .

A predatory priest, a double-dealing politician, a fraudulent philanthropist—Alex has ways of making them confess, on camera, for all the world to witness. But the Show Game is building toward a darkly personal finale: exposing society’s most notorious and evil abuser.

As Alex gets closer to the main event, investigative reporter Owen Tanaka is determined to unmask the vigilante’s true identity and motive. But when a shocking revelation hits close to home, Owen must decide whether to stop a criminal mastermind’s devious scheme . . . or let the Show Game play its final round.

Book Details:

Genre: Psychological, Crime, Suspense Thriller
Published by: Open Road Media Mystery & Thriller
Publication Date: July 2, 2024
Number of Pages: 316
ISBN: 9781504086776 (ISBN10: 1504086775)
Book Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookShop.org | Goodreads | Open Road

****I received a complimentary book from publishers, publicists, NetGalley, book tours, and or authors.  A review was not required and all opinions and ideas expressed are my own.**** 

My Review

Show Game starts off with a bang, prompting a "WOW" from me. I've read many books, but none quite like this one. The plot centers around individuals in search of truth, aiming to expose powerful figures who abuse it, while also seeking peace in their own lives. Show Game is a vigilante tale, and this book offers no punishment for the wrongdoers. Instead, they face the consequences of their actions through their own words, ultimately leading to their downfall. 

Led by Alex, the Show Game project is set to air across various platforms, targeting a predatory priest, a deceitful politician, and a fraudulent philanthropist who all deserve retribution for their wrongdoings. Investigative journalist Owen Tanaka is determined to uncover Alex's identity. As he digs deeper, the distinction between right and wrong becomes blurred, and Owen increasingly supports Alex's mission.

The story unfolds as a game of cat and mouse, with roles shifting between predator and prey. It works as a thought-provoking piece addressing contemporary societal issues. 

Drawing on an old Western theme of dispensing justice outside the confines of the legal system, the book keeps readers captivated until the surprising conclusion. Be prepared for a challenging read that will engage your mind and emotions, prompting you to form your own conclusions as you immerse yourself in Show Game by Steve Anderson.



Read an excerpt:

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 17

ALEX

I have the bastard, finally, I got him. Target number one. He’s cowering on the high-backed chair before me, in the near dark. We keep a single harsh light on him, a bare caged bulb hanging from one of the rafters, just above his eyes, still swinging a little. He’d tried standing twice and bumped into the bulb before my hard eyes made him drop right down again.

It was so easy. We have duct tape and various tools of the trade in a tactical backpack and are more than happy to use them. But he doesn’t even need taping up. He’s clenching the chair’s cracked leather so hard his knuckles are whiter than those pricey snow-white crowns of his. It can’t help that his seat resembles a dentist chair.

“You tricked me,” he keeps repeating. “I trusted you.”

“Sound familiar?” I say and let the question hang in the air a good minute. To see how he likes it done to him. I’ll let him fill in the rest, going back decades.

Oh, before we get too far—I will be known as “Alex.” It’s my vigilante name, for my first-ever job. I’m speaking to my target in a lower, rougher voice to help cover myself.

Dwayne Specklin, forty-nine and quivering before us, is the founder and head pastor of one of the largest megachurches in southern California, let alone the country. But before that, before he was “ordained,” he was a scoutmaster and Scout unit chaplain for many, many years. So many boys had put their trust in him.

You might see where this is going. But I’ll let Dwayne Specklin tell you, and soon.

We’re in a warehouse in San Diego. It’s only minutes from the surf and the palms and so many retired admirals’ young grandsons, but inside here it’s cold enough to be the Pacific Northwest. Up north, I’d found out, was where Dwayne had escaped justice after molesting his first ten-year-old, a lowly Cub Scout. All Dwayne had to do back then was abscond for college.

On one side of Dwayne is an aluminum briefcase, silver and dinged up, displayed upright on an old music stand. It holds video of him with boys, ready to roll on an old and unregistered iPad. Sick and vile footage. I won’t tell you what Dwayne was doing to those boys. After months of trying, I’d gotten the video from one of his accomplices—a junior pastor.

Dwayne has to know what’s inside the briefcase. It’s bathed in a red glow from the color lens of the military-grade LED flashlight mounted to our tripod.

He keeps glaring at the metal case like it’s a bomb ticking down to one.

Then I raise the handheld voice changer to my mouth. He recoils at the sight.

“Are you ready?” I say in my newly digitally warped tone. He releases a little yelp.

“Ah, now . . .” I come in close and lean down to him, just like he as Scout chaplain might have done while visiting another troubled boy at home, in a time of such dire need and defenselessness. I even stroke his plump knee gently. A heat of disgust swells in my throat.

“Are you ready?” I repeat. “It’s time to play the Show Game.”

“The wha? . . .” Dwayne’s eyes widen.

I don’t answer. In my planning, I decided to reverse the wording of “Game Show.” Let him figure it out. It’s barely afternoon. We’ve got all day and night.

I let Dwayne squint around a few moments, first at the briefcase again, then around the whole room. All he is going to find, if his bleary, puffy eyes can adjust enough, is our dim corner of an old machine shop, its only windows opening to a fully dark former manufacturing hall, both now gutted. Then there’s a cavernous warehouse surrounding that, and on and on, like some Russian doll of those abandoned factory locations from the season finales of thriller shows. I look around along with Dwayne, following his eyes and scrunched-up nose. We see corrugated metal walls, busted windows, jagged exposed bolts sawed off, and gaping holes and hatches to who knows where. Grease stains, oily puddles left from somewhere, something.

I flinch inside a moment, wondering what might have first activated my target’s depraved mind. Maybe a Scout leader or priest had committed the same abuse on Dwayne, or even his own father? Maybe Dwayne, deep down, has the same developmental age as the ones he deceives and abuses.

Who knows. Screw him.

Dwayne is looking up now, as you do, probably seeking that megachurch god he justified his crimes to—if he even bothered. But all he can probably see is the white glare of that bare bulb, and he sniffs and snorts, and his nostrils surely fill with the tang of stale oil and dead insects and the boozy metallic fear breath of his own bastard self.

Target number one is ready to play. My first contestant! I have to admit, I feel a little swell of happy warmth in my chest. I cannot reiterate how easy this has been, especially for my first. To help ease Dwayne’s stage jitters, we have a bottle of Old Taylor, ten bucks plus tax at the nearby Vons. We had offered him a paper cup, but he drank straight from the bottle despite claiming to be a lifelong teetotaler. And I was all too happy to corrupt him. The booze had made him gasp and emit a wheezing trill that left him breathing heavy and drooling. Then the tears started running down his cheeks. I was expecting vomit soon. I’d remembered to wear my waterproof boots just in case.

Talk about drinking to forget. It was far too late for that, though. Because I’m here to make Dwayno remember. Total recall.

Time to play.

“Dwayne?”

“Yes. No,” he says. “I’m not ready. I don’t get it! Who are you?

What do you want?”

“I want you to tell me what you did.”

“Did?”

“You know. All of it. And do not lie. Because we will know.”

His eyes go dead a moment. Silence ensues. He stares at his white knuckles. His face flashes green. I see it coming so I move back with a quick little two-step and the stream of hot vomit gushes out straight for the industrial floor drain we’d conveniently placed the chair near. He misses himself but it splatters, then it dribbles down the front of his pearlescent, still tucked-in golf shirt. Thank god he wipes at his chin because I’m not going to keep staring at that in this harsh downward light.

It’s such a contrast to the public Dwayne Specklin, a rotund if not fleshy fellow with pale pink skin that you never would’ve guessed spent much of its adult life in sunny California. His full head of hair somehow still more blond than gray, and a little spiky. His look reminds me of a jokey football coach, capable of either great care or extreme pressure within seconds.

He always had this little upturned grin in all those official photos and videos I researched, just one side of his mouth, but without that grin he truly does look like the eternally enabled child molester that he is. I wonder if he’d trained himself in the mirror at some point. He’s still wearing the pricey kangaroo leather sandals he had on when we’d approached him, his feet and toes soft and pedicured with a nearly white gloss.

He squints at me, and at the metal case again, then around. Squints, case, around. This repeats for like a minute.

“Who sent you?” he says finally.

Nobody sent me. I sent myself. Let him wonder why. This should be for all the victims. Let Dwayne Specklin mine his foul and barbed memory until blind.

[Chapter continues...]

***

Excerpt from Show Game by Steve Anderson. Copyright 2024 by Steve Anderson. Reproduced with permission from Steve Anderson. All rights reserved.

 

 

****Meet Author Steve Anderson****

Steve Anderson

Steve Anderson is the author of numerous novels, mostly historical thrillers about gutsy underdogs. In an earlier life he earned an MA in history and was a Fulbright Fellow in Germany. Day jobs have included busy waiter, Associated Press rookie, and language instructor. He’s also written historical nonfiction and translated bestselling German novels. A hopeless soccer addict, he lives in his hometown of Portland, Oregon with his wife RenĂ©.

Catch Up With Steve Anderson:
www.StephenFAnderson.com
Goodreads
BookBub - @SteveAnderson
Instagram - @SteveAWriter
Threads - @SteveAWriter
Twitter/X - @SteveAwriter
Facebook - @SteveAndersonAuthor
Substack - @SteveAWriter

 

 

Praise for Show Game:

"Show Game is not only a high-octane thriller, it’s an urgent and timely reckoning for the sins of the past. A thriller crackling with heart and soul."
~ Jahmal Mayfield, author of Smoke Kings

"An original, thought-provoking and fast-paced novel ... This thriller is written with so much heart and brings out hope in people that good will prevail."
~ Teresa Brock, reviewer, Best Thriller Books

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This is a giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Tours for Steve Anderson. See the widget for entry terms and conditions. Void where prohibited.

 

 

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